Jan. 13, 2022 — President Joe Biden introduced Thursday the U.S. authorities will make free, upgraded face masks obtainable for ordering on-line beginning subsequent week.
As well as, he’s ordering 500 million extra fast COVID-19 checks to satisfy 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.
Biden’s plan goals to make getting upgraded masks simpler for People.
“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 mentioned. Nevertheless, “I do know that for some People, 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 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 People 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 achieved with carrying 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 Exams
Within the 10-minute deal with, Biden additionally introduced plans to order 500 million extra at-home fast COVID-19 checks to satisfy demand. The order comes on prime of the five hundred million checks the federal government already ordered.
Doing the maths, the president famous the present and future provide means there can be a billion checks “being acquired to ship to your houses without cost.”
Biden additionally identified that fast at-home checks weren’t obtainable when he took workplace. In distinction, “we’ll have over 375 million at-home fast checks in January alone. That is an enormous leap,” he mentioned.
Within the meantime, his administration will work with on-line retailers to make extra checks obtainable. Additionally, for any American who needs a check straight away, the Federal Emergency Administration Company is including extra free, in-person testing websites nationwide.
Extra Navy Backup
“I am asserting our subsequent deployment of six further federal medical groups,” Biden mentioned. These reinforcements embrace 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 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 workers. As well as, greater than 14,000 Nationwide Guard members are already deployed to assist health care employees are in 49 states.
Vaccination Stays Prime Precedence
Getting extra People vaccinated and boosted stays a precedence, significantly through the Omicron surge.
“Proper now, each vaccinated and unvaccinated persons are testing constructive. However what occurs after that would not be extra completely different,” Biden mentioned. “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 checks constructive, they’re greater than 17 instances extra more likely to get hospitalized, he mentioned.
“So long as we now have tens of hundreds of thousands of people that is not going to 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 heart attack, automobile accident, or any damage in any respect,” Biden mentioned.
One vivid spot to date with the Omicron surge is, regardless of the soar in case and hospitalization numbers, he mentioned, “deaths are down dramatically from final winter.”
Uniting In opposition to a Widespread Enemy
Biden mentioned America will “get by way of 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 got a combat this collectively. We have started working collectively. Not towards one another.”