President Biden has unveiled his plan to buy 500 million at-home COVID-19 testing kits that will be available for Americans for free.
In a drive to fight a surge of cases through this winter, the tests will be available starting in January and the White House will set up a website that Americans can use to request a covid test, a top administration official stated. The tests will be given to citizens for free, though details like how many tests per household are still being worked on.
Biden also will announce the mobilization of 1,000 more troops for hospitals overburdened by patients. While the troops will not necessarily be quickly used, an official said they will be available “if we do” need them in Jan. and Feb.
The president will also discuss greater vaccination sites, new testing locations and work to expand hospital capacity during his speech. These new efforts include “directing FEMA to activate more capacity” for particular areas, the White House stressed in a fact sheet.
While the speech is centered on new actions to help American states fight the Omicron variant, Joe Biden also plans to tell the nation that celebrating the holidays is okay, an official said.
“The President will inform Americans if they are vaccinated and follow some precautions, especially wearing a mask while traveling, they should be comfortable celebrating the holidays as they planned,” a top administration official said.
For unvaccinated Americans, Joe Biden will give a stark warning that is becoming one of the White House’s new talking points: Those who do not get the shot have the risk of death or severe illness.
“For the unvaccinated people: We are now looking at a winter of death and severe illness … for their family and themselves and the hospital they will soon overwhelm,” Biden said previously in the month after the meeting with his coronavirus response team.
The president’s speech connects with a rise in cases in the United States. The Omicron variant, public health officials stated, is quickly turning into the dominant strain, and there were worries that infections will go up even more during the holidays. While scientists are still learning more about the variant, it is believed to be more easily transmissible with less extreme symptoms than past variants.
Author: Steven Sinclaire