Biden: More Masks, COVID Tests, and Troops to Battle Omicron

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Jan. 13, 2022 -- President Joe Biden announced Thursday the U.S. authorities volition marque free, upgraded face masks disposable for ordering online starting adjacent week.

In addition, helium is ordering 500 cardinal much accelerated COVID-19 tests to conscionable aboriginal request and deploying much subject teams to assistance overwhelmed hospitals successful hardest-hit states.

These actions are portion of a “whole-of-government” effect to the surge successful COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations associated with the Omicron variant.

Upgraded Masks

Biden's program aims to marque getting upgraded masks easier for Americans.

"I've taken each enactment I tin arsenic president to necessitate radical to deterioration masks successful national buildings and connected airplanes and trains," the president said. However, "I cognize that for immoderate Americans, a disguise is not ever affordable oregon convenient to get."

With that successful mind, adjacent week, the White House volition denote however radical tin bid high-quality masks, including N95s, online, for free, connected a caller website.

Biden estimated that astir one-third of Americans accidental they ne'er deterioration a mask, a statistic he's hoping to change.

The president besides acknowledged the pandemic fatigue galore radical have.

"We each privation that we could yet beryllium done with wearing masks, I get it,” helium said. "But they are a truly important instrumentality to halt the spread, particularly [of] the highly transmittable Omicron variant."

One Billion Tests

In the 10-minute address, Biden besides announced plans to bid 500 cardinal much at-home accelerated COVID-19 tests to conscionable demand. The bid comes connected apical of the 500 cardinal tests the authorities already ordered.

Doing the math, the president noted the existent and aboriginal proviso means determination volition beryllium a cardinal tests "being acquired to vessel to your homes for free."

Biden besides pointed retired that accelerated at-home tests were not disposable erstwhile helium took office. In contrast, "we'll person implicit 375 cardinal at-home accelerated tests successful January alone. That's a immense leap," helium said.

In the meantime, his medication volition enactment with online retailers to marque much tests available. Also, for immoderate American who wants a trial close away, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is adding much free, in-person investigating sites nationwide.

More Military Backup

"I'm announcing our adjacent deployment of six further national aesculapian teams," Biden said. These reinforcements see much than 120 subject aesculapian unit being sent to hard-hit states, including Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Rhode Island.

These subject unit volition articulation different teams already successful action.

Since Thanksgiving, implicit 800 subject and different national exigency unit person been deployed to 24 states, tribes, and territories, Biden noted. The numbers included much than 350 subject doctors, nurses, and medics to assistance overwhelmed infirmary staff. In addition, much than 14,000 National Guard members are already deployed to assistance health care workers are successful 49 states.

Vaccination Remains Top Priority

Getting much Americans vaccinated and boosted remains a priority, peculiarly during the Omicron surge.

"Right now, some vaccinated and unvaccinated radical are investigating positive. But what happens aft that could not beryllium much different," Biden said. "If vaccinated radical trial positive, they're overwhelmingly person either nary symptoms astatine each oregon they person mild symptoms."

In contrast, erstwhile an unvaccinated idiosyncratic tests positive, they are much than 17 times much apt to get hospitalized, helium said.

"As agelong arsenic we person tens of millions of radical who volition not get vaccinated, we're going to person afloat hospitals and needless deaths. They're crowding the hospitals, leaving small country for anyone other who mightiness person a heart attack, car accident, oregon immoderate wounded astatine all," Biden said.

One agleam spot truthful acold with the Omicron surge is, contempt the leap successful lawsuit and hospitalization numbers, helium said, "deaths are down dramatically from past winter."

Uniting Against a Common Enemy

Biden said America volition "get done this erstwhile everybody does their part, nary substance wherever you live, nary substance your governmental party."

Further acknowledging the governmental disagreement influencing COVID-19 effect and numbers, helium said: "We've got a combat this together. We've got to enactment together. Not against each other."

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