Biden, Covid, Vaccines and Omicron: Live News Updates

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President Biden said his administration would double the previous purchase of free corona virus tests distributed to Americans and send additional medical personnel to states hard hit by the Omigron variant.debtdebt…Duck Mills / The New York Times

WASHINGTON – President Biden on Thursday stepped up his administration’s response to the Omigron variant-driven corona virus outbreak, sending out his urgent need for help in hospitals and promising to provide Americans with free trials and masks as the country enters its third year of the epidemic. .

He instructed his staff to purchase an additional 500 million corona virus tests to be distributed to Americans. Biden said the government’s previous purchases had doubled as his administration struggled to respond to the highly contagious Omigran variant.

In addition, the president said hospitals would send a total of 120 military personnel to the six affected states. He promised to unveil plans next week to help Americans by providing better, higher-quality masks to prevent infection from the virus.

On Thursday morning at the White House, Mr. Govt.

“This represents a total of one billion trials to meet future demand,” he said. Biden said. “We will continue to work with retailers and online retailers to increase availability.”

But it is unknown when the tests will be available. Mr. Biden announced the first batch of 500 million trials shortly before Christmas, and White House officials said the first batch of that announcement would not be released until later this month. Details of how Americans can request those tests, including a government-run testing website, are due to be released on Friday.

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The president did not say when the new batch of 500 million tests would be produced and distributed. But home trials – with more than 20,000 testing sites across the country – will help meet the growing demand as people try, he said. Continue to work, school and social life as the virus spreads rapidly.

“We are going to publish a website next week where you can order a free check-up for your home,” he said, adding that those with medical insurance You can get a quick refund for purchases up to eight trials a month.

Mr. Biden did not provide any details on what he said was a plan to ensure Americans had access to high-quality masks. Experts say that the KN95 and N95 masks protect better against the Omicron variant than the general fabric or surgical masks worn by many.

“Like I said in the last two years, please wear a mask. I think this is part of your patriotism,” he said, adding that “it’s not so comfortable, neck pain.”

The announcement of aid to hospitals is the start of sending 1,000 service members to help doctors and nurses deal with the escalation of Omigron cases, Mr. Biden said.

President Lloyd J. Austin III, with Secretary of Defense and Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Dean Chriswell, described teams going to severely affected communities across the White House. He said the army was being tapped in early January to help hospitals. Biden said late last month.

The president said new teams of doctors, nurses and other paramedics will begin arriving at hospitals in Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island. Hired emergency departments to clear the space.

These deployments are part of the Biden administration’s efforts to address the recent rise in cases caused by the highly contagious Omigron variant. As it increases, new cases will reach More than 780,000 a day Nationwide. The number of Americans hospitalized with Covid-19 has risen to about 142,000.

Mr. For Pitton, his inability to control the epidemic helped pull his approval ratings as he entered his second year in office. His aides are aiming to publicize their efforts to deal with the virus.

Authorities say the administration has sent 800 military and emergency personnel to 24 states, tribes and territories since thanking Omigron for its first discovery in South Africa.

In addition, more than 14,000 National Guard members in 49 states have been activated to assist hospitals with vaccinations, tests and other medical services, officials said. Those sorts were paid for by the U.S. Redemption Plan, which Mr. This is the law that Biden proposed at the beginning of his term.

“Thanks to the military medical teams on the ground, for everything you do,” the president said.

As the country continues to struggle with the epidemic, more military paramedics may be deployed in the coming days, officials said.

Sugar Montek Contributed report.

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