No undiagnosed American. President Joe Biden plans to announce in a speech from the White House this Tuesday, the first day of winter, that he will distribute 500 million free tests at home to help stop the advance of omicron, which is already the dominant one in the country. : 73% of the cases of coronavirus detected correspond to this variant, according to data offered late Monday by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Test sites throughout the country will also be increased and federal medical personnel will be made available to hospitals to prevent their collapse. Biden will also rule out the imposition of confinements or new restrictive measures.
With these measures, advanced by officials of his Administration, Biden puts into practice the theory exposed on December 2 in his winter plan, the second since the arrival of covid-19, to combat the coronavirus, in which he emphasized in the tests to stop it, after months in which the advance of vaccination prevailed over the rest of the weapons against the pandemic. According to data provided by officials, 72% of the population has already been immunized, but less than a third of those who have two doses have taken the booster shot, which is key, according to experts, in the case of infection by omicron.
“We know how to keep citizens from getting seriously ill. We have the tools to achieve this, ”the White House said in a statement. Spokesperson Jen Psaki added Monday that Biden’s intention is to “be clear and direct with Americans about the benefits of being vaccinated, about the steps we are going to take to increase testing and to get the unimmunized to understand end what risks they face ”.
The tests will be sent home next month, and a website will be set up for their distribution where citizens can request them. Among the new test sites that Biden promises to install across the country, the first will open after Christmas in New York. Right now, the tests, which are sold at a price of 25 dollars (22 euros), are in short supply in many pharmacies.
States whose hospitals will receive the federal health worker booster are: Michigan, Indiana, Vermont, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire. If those reinforcements aren’t enough, the Biden Administration plans to send another 1,000 professionals in February and March. Material has also been reserved, such as N95 masks, respirators or personal protective equipment for toilets, to be sent to the centers that need it.
It is also expected that Biden will influence his message about omicron (“it is a cause for concern, but not for panic”), and on the need to be vaccinated: this variant is highly infectious, but presents mild symptoms among those immunized. “In contrast, the unvaccinated are placed in a high risk position of contracting covid-19, becoming seriously ill and even dying.”
The plan announced on December 2 included a commitment that insurers will reimburse the cost of home tests, booster doses for adults of all ages, and the establishment of hundreds of vaccination sites for families, as well as new rules for international travelers. The main change for these implied that, compared to the previous requirement to present a negative test carried out in the 72 hours prior to the trip, it will now be mandatory that, whatever the vaccination schedule or the country of origin, the test is carried out in the previous 24 hours.
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