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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, earlier this month. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a CBS interview broadcast Sunday that COVID-19 "has been calling the shots for the economy and for inflation" in the U.S. and future stability depends on the outcome of the pandemic.

Why it matters: The rate of price growth has remained consistently strong in recent months, per Axios' Kate Marino. The Consumer Price Index released last Wednesday showed inflation has reached a 30-year-high, with overall prices rising 6.2% from one year ago.

What she's saying: "[I]f we want to get inflation down, I think continuing to make progress against the pandemic is the most important thing we can do," Yellen told CBS' "Face the Nation."

  • "I think it's important to realize that the cause of this inflation is the pandemic," she added.

Of note: Yellen acknowledged "big increases in prices" for fuel and food, but told CBS' Margaret Brennan she expected that to change "when the economy recovers enough from COVID."

  • When that happens, "people go back to eating out, traveling more, spending more on services, and the demand for products, for goods begins to go back to normal," she said.
  • "And, also, labor supply has been impacted by the pandemic. Labor force participation is down. It hasn't recovered," Yellen added.

The bottom line: Yellen expects prices to go back to normal in the second half of next year "if we're successful with the pandemic."

Go deeper

Updated 19 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: U.S. to mandate vaccines for anyone who crosses borders starting in January — Shots lagged data by months — The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort.
  2. Health: The Thanksgiving bouncers — Axios-Ipsos poll: Thanksgiving roulette — Experts criticize CDC's language on vaccine boosters — America's Thanksgiving gamble.
  3. Politics: Biden administration asks appeals court to reinstate vaccine mandate — Michigan recommends face masks for all residents amid surge.
  4. Education: A COVID strategy backfires at schools — Schools across the U.S. offer vaccine drivesBenefits of in-person school outweigh risks, study finds.
  5. World: EU drug regulator recommends Pfizer COVID vaccine for kids — Italy announces new COVID restrictions for unvaccinated people — European health agency urges expanding booster shot access.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
17 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.

Updated 17 hours ago - Health

Europe, Asia tighten borders in fear of new COVID variant

Passengers stand at the check-in at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Boris Roessler/dpa via Getty Images

Countries across Europe and Asia are rushing through new travel restrictions in response to a new COVID variant identified by scientists in South Africa.

The big picture: Israel, Japan, the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Singapore are moving to restrict entry from countries in the south of Africa, AP reports. Many are also adding quarantines for their own citizens upon return from the region.