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Extra Masks, COVID Assessments, 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 assessments to fulfill 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.

Upgraded Masks

Biden’s plan goals to make getting upgraded masks simpler for Individuals.

“I’ve taken each motion I can as president to require individuals 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 will not be all the time inexpensive or handy to get.”

With that in thoughts, subsequent week, the White Home will announce how individuals can order high-quality masks, together with N95s, on-line, at no cost, 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 might lastly be finished with sporting masks, I get it,” he mentioned. “However they’re a very essential instrument to cease the unfold, particularly [of] the extremely transmittable Omicron variant.”

One Billion Assessments

Within the 10-minute handle, Biden additionally introduced plans to order 500 million extra at-home speedy COVID-19 assessments to fulfill demand. The order comes on high of the five hundred million assessments the federal government already ordered.

Doing the maths, the president famous the present and future provide means there will probably be a billion assessments “being acquired to ship to your houses at no cost.”

Biden additionally identified that speedy at-home assessments weren’t accessible when he took workplace. In distinction, “we’ll have over 375 million at-home speedy assessments in January alone. That is an enormous leap,” he mentioned.

Within the meantime, his administration will work with on-line retailers to make extra assessments accessible. Additionally, for any American who desires a check instantly, 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 embody 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 a 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 medical doctors, 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 employees are in 49 states.

Vaccination Stays High Precedence

Getting extra Individuals vaccinated and boosted stays a precedence, significantly in the course of the Omicron surge.

“Proper now, each vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are testing optimistic. However what occurs after that might not be extra completely different,” Biden mentioned. “If vaccinated individuals check optimistic, they’re overwhelmingly have both no signs in any respect or they’ve gentle signs.”

In distinction, when an unvaccinated individual assessments optimistic, they’re greater than 17 instances extra more likely to get hospitalized, he mentioned.

“So long as now we have tens of thousands and thousands of people that won’t get vaccinated, we’ll 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 damage in any respect,” Biden mentioned.

One brilliant spot to this point with the Omicron surge is, regardless of the leap in case and hospitalization numbers, he mentioned, “deaths are down dramatically from final winter.”

Uniting Towards a Widespread Enemy

Biden mentioned America will “get by this when everyone 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 in opposition to one another.”

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