More Masks, COVID Tests, and Troops to Battle Omicron
Jan. 13, 2022 — President Joe Biden introduced Thursday the U.S. authorities will make free, upgraded face masks accessible for ordering on-line beginning subsequent week.
As well as, he’s ordering 500 million extra speedy COVID-19 exams to satisfy future demand and deploying extra army groups to assist overwhelmed hospitals in hardest-hit states.
These actions are a part of a “whole-of-government” response to the surge in COVID-19 instances and hospitalizations related to the Omicron variant.
Biden’s plan goals to make getting upgraded masks simpler for Individuals.
“I’ve taken each motion I can as president to require folks to put on masks in federal buildings and on airplanes and trains,” the president mentioned. Nevertheless, “I do know that for some Individuals, a masks shouldn’t be all the time reasonably priced or handy to get.”
With that in thoughts, subsequent week, the White Home will announce how folks can order high-quality masks, together with N95s, on-line, totally free, on a brand new web site.
Biden estimated that about one-third of Individuals say they by no means put on a masks, a statistic he is hoping to alter.
The president additionally acknowledged the pandemic fatigue many individuals have.
“All of us want that we may lastly be finished with carrying masks, I get it,” he mentioned. “However they’re a extremely essential instrument to cease the unfold, particularly [of] the extremely transmittable Omicron variant.”
One Billion Assessments
Within the 10-minute deal with, Biden additionally introduced plans to order 500 million extra at-home speedy COVID-19 exams to satisfy demand. The order comes on high of the five hundred million exams the federal government already ordered.
Doing the maths, the president famous the present and future provide means there might be a billion exams “being acquired to ship to your houses totally free.”
Biden additionally identified that speedy at-home exams weren’t accessible when he took workplace. In distinction, “we’ll have over 375 million at-home speedy exams in January alone. That is an enormous leap,” he mentioned.
Within the meantime, his administration will work with on-line retailers to make extra exams accessible. Additionally, for any American who needs a check immediately, the Federal Emergency Administration Company is including extra free, in-person testing websites nationwide.
Extra Navy Backup
“I am saying our subsequent deployment of six extra federal medical groups,” Biden mentioned. These reinforcements embrace greater than 120 army medical personnel being despatched to hard-hit states, together with Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Rhode Island.
These army personnel will be part of different groups already in motion.
Since Thanksgiving, over 800 army and different federal emergency personnel have been deployed to 24 states, tribes, and territories, Biden famous. The numbers included greater than 350 army docs, nurses, and medics to assist overwhelmed hospital employees. As well as, greater than 14,000 Nationwide Guard members are already deployed to assist health care staff are in 49 states.
Vaccination Stays Prime Precedence
Getting extra Individuals vaccinated and boosted stays a precedence, notably in the course of the Omicron surge.
“Proper now, each vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are testing constructive. However what occurs after that would not be extra completely different,” Biden mentioned. “If vaccinated folks check constructive, they’re overwhelmingly have both no signs in any respect or they’ve delicate signs.”
In distinction, when an unvaccinated individual exams constructive, they’re greater than 17 occasions extra prone to get hospitalized, he mentioned.
“So long as we now have tens of thousands and thousands of people that won’t get vaccinated, we will have full hospitals and unnecessary deaths. They’re crowding the hospitals, leaving little room for anybody else who may need a heart attack, automotive accident, or any harm in any respect,” Biden mentioned.
One vibrant spot up to now with the Omicron surge is, regardless of the soar in case and hospitalization numbers, he mentioned, “deaths are down dramatically from final winter.”
Uniting Towards a Frequent Enemy
Biden mentioned America will “get by way of this when all people does their half, irrespective of the place you reside, irrespective of your political social gathering.”
Additional acknowledging the political divide influencing COVID-19 response and numbers, he mentioned: “We have a battle this collectively. We have set to work collectively. Not towards one another.”