In response to an increase in instances of a highly infectious new coronavirus variety, President Biden increased the pace of his administration’s reaction on Tuesday, assuring worried Americans that “we should all be concerned about Omicron, but not alarmed.”
Biden made the announcement in a White House address delivered against the backdrop of a renewed global effort to deal with the pandemic that began two years ago. The government will purchase half a billion rapid coronavirus tests and distribute them free of charge to Americans, establish new vaccination and testing sites, and dispatch 1,000 military medical professionals to assist hospitals across the country.
“I understand that you’re fatigued, and I understand that you’re irritated,”President Joe Biden said, adding that those who have been vaccinated should feel secure enjoying the approaching holidays with their friends and family. It’s clear that everyone wants this to be finished, yet we’re still in it.
Military personnel will begin arriving in Wisconsin and Indiana this week, according to the president, to assist health-care employees at hospitals. He said that the first of the new testing facilities, to be located in New York, would open within days. In addition, he committed to utilise the Defense Production Act to assist manufacturers in meeting the increased need for testing.
Mr. Biden’s statements came at a time when authorities from throughout the country and across the globe were rushing to address Omicron in various ways. In New York, Eric Adams, the new mayor, has decided to postpone his inauguration event until a later date. Earlier this week, the National Hockey League announced that its players will not be competing in Beijing’s Winter Olympics in 2022 because of a scheduling conflict with the holiday break. In Massachusetts, state authorities called in the National Guard to assist staff hospitals that were overwhelmed by the number of patients they were seeing.
As Europe grappled with a fresh viral outbreak, countries such as Germany, Sweden, Portugal, and Scotland put further limitations on the movement and activities of their nationals to combat the outbreak.
The former president was recognised in his speech, with Mr. Biden adding that Mr. Trump had said that he had gotten a booster dose and that “thanks to the last administration and the scientific community, America is one of the first nations to get the vaccine.”
In addition to building on a winter pandemic plan that the president unveiled three weeks ago, the president’s actions show a growing understanding inside the White House of the escalating danger posed by the Omicron strain of Ebola. Mr. Biden, on the other hand, became defensive in the face of accusations that he had not acted swiftly enough, particularly in terms of making free testing broadly accessible.
Some infectious disease experts believe that it is simply not possible at this time to prevent the virus from spreading, and that the administration should instead focus on slowing the spread of the virus, protecting the most vulnerable, and preventing already overburdened hospital systems from becoming overwhelmed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed on Monday that Omicron, which was responsible for fewer than 1 percent of new Covid-19 infections in the United States before the month of December started, is now responsible for roughly three-quarters of newly reported cases. Vaccine-protected individuals are becoming more susceptible to so-called breakthrough infections, however many of these instances are characterised by mild symptoms or no signs at all.
As a consequence, experts predict that individuals will be forced to depend on tests not just to establish whether or not they are unwell, but also to guide them through their regular activities, such as going to work or attending social events. It has been a problem for both the Trump and Biden administrations to keep up with demand for at-home tests, and the United States has fallen behind Europe in terms of making these tests inexpensive and widely accessible.
Neither the 500 million tests that the administration plans to purchase nor the website where Americans will be able to request them will be available until some time in January, according to the administration. Much will depend on just when it will occur.
However, it was not immediately obvious where the tests would come from, how they would be delivered, or if there would be any restrictions on the amount of tests that might be ordered by a single person. President Obama will continue to use the Defense Creation Act to expedite the production of tests, according to administration officials.
Several additional government testing centres will be up and operating in New York City by Christmas, as part of President Biden’s goal to expand federal testing locations. According to authorities, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will also create additional pop-up vaccine clinics, including four in New Mexico that were scheduled to begin on Tuesday, among other locations.
American citizens should be reminded that, despite the presence of the Omicron variant, the situation the country finds itself in today is vastly different from the situation that existed when the pandemic began in early 2020, when there were no vaccines or treatments available and essential medical equipment was in short supply. He insisted, as he has in the past, that there was no need for lockdowns.