President Joe Biden asked healthcare providers to expand the availability of coronavirus vaccines and booster vaccines to combat a winter surge in infections and stop the new variant of omicron.
Biden outlined a new strategy to curb the pandemic in a speech delivered at the National Institutes of Health on Thursday, amid a surge in infections in several states.
He said his administration would also make free COVID tests at home were more available by requiring insurers to pay and “accelerating efforts to vaccinate the rest of the world.”
“The actions I am announcing are ones that all Americans can and should support.nirnos in the fight against COVID ″, he said
Other parts of the strategy include requiring vaccinated air travelers they get a negative COVID test 24 hours before your flight , as well as to extend the mandate of the use of masks for national trips.
Biden’s plan, which was in the works when omicron emerged last month, comes as it seeks to prevent the spread of the variant in the US and address sudden increases in cases in the northern and midwestern states.
Health officials are also bracing for a spike in cases fueled by the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
The 7-day average of new cases in the U.S. was 82,000 on Tuesday, according to CDC data, down from 94,000 the week before, though tests tend to drop during the holidays and cases tend to spike afterward. of them, leaving health officials bracing for a new wave heading into Christmas.
About 63 percent of eligible people in the US are fully vaccinated.
Minnesota confirmed the second known omicron case in the United States in a person who traveled to New York City last month. The person was vaccinated and experienced only mild symptoms, state health officials said.
Biden’s announcement is largely a continuation of what the administration is already doing. The plan includes a push for all adults receive booster doses and for those without vaccines to receive injections.
The administration, however, is moving away from other, more stringent measures, including requiring a PCR test rather than a less accurate antigen test to fly to the US. Officials considered such a requirement, but ultimately decided to allow rapid tests. LVaccinated travelers should obtain a negative test one day before their departure, instead of three.
The administration has also not required vaccination for domestic air travel, although White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday the option remains under consideration.
Biden’s plan does not include other strategies used in some countries, such as quarantine requirements.
The first omicron case in the US became known last Wednesday, in a person in California who had traveled last month to South Africa.
Biden’s chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, has said it will take a couple of weeks for the data to demonstrate the power of the omicron variant. Its mutations indicate that it is transmitted much more easily, but it is not yet clear whether it leads to more serious cases.