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 fast COVID-19 exams to fulfill future demand and deploying extra navy 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 stated. Nevertheless, “I do know that for some Individuals, a masks isn’t at all times inexpensive 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, without 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 may lastly be finished with carrying masks, I get it,” he stated. “However they’re a extremely necessary software to cease the unfold, particularly [of] the extremely transmittable Omicron variant.”
One Billion Exams
Within the 10-minute tackle, Biden additionally introduced plans to order 500 million extra at-home fast COVID-19 exams to fulfill demand. The order comes on prime 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 properties without cost.”
Biden additionally identified that fast at-home exams weren’t accessible when he took workplace. In distinction, “we’ll have over 375 million at-home fast exams in January alone. That is an enormous leap,” he stated.
Within the meantime, his administration will work with on-line retailers to make extra exams 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 Army Backup
“I am saying our subsequent deployment of six further federal medical groups,” Biden stated. These reinforcements embrace greater than 120 navy medical personnel being despatched to hard-hit states, together with Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Rhode Island.
These navy personnel will be part of different groups already in motion.
Since Thanksgiving, over 800 navy and different federal emergency personnel have been deployed to 24 states, tribes, and territories, Biden famous. The numbers included greater than 350 navy docs, nurses, and medics to assist overwhelmed hospital employees. As well as, greater than 14,000 Nationwide Guard members are already deployed to assist well being care employees 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 persons are testing constructive. However what occurs after that would not be extra totally different,” Biden stated. “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 instances extra more likely to get hospitalized, he stated.
“So long as we’ve got 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 coronary heart assault, automobile accident, or any harm in any respect,” Biden stated.
One shiny spot to this point with the Omicron surge is, regardless of the bounce in case and hospitalization numbers, he stated, “deaths are down dramatically from final winter.”
Uniting In opposition to a Widespread Enemy
Biden stated America will “get by this when all people does their half, irrespective of the place you reside, irrespective of your political occasion.”
Additional acknowledging the political divide influencing COVID-19 response and numbers, he stated: “We have got a battle this collectively. We have set to work collectively. Not in opposition to one another.”