President Biden on Tuesday will announce the deployment of 1,000 troops to help hospitals reeling from COVID-19 and unveil a website where Americans can order free at-home virus tests in January, senior administration officials said.
He will also underscore the need for widespread vaccination and booster shots to avoid severe disease from increasingly common infections.
The administration said it is purchasing 500 million rapid tests that Americans can order for free delivery to their homes on a forthcoming website.
Also, Mr. Biden will order military doctors, nurses, paramedics and other medical personnel to deploy, as needed, to bolster the COVID-19 response in January and February.
The federal government will also stand up new testing sites, starting with New York City, as Mayor Bill de Blasio requests help to deal with the winter surge.
The U.S. is averaging over 130,000 reported infections per day. It is the most since September when the delta wave swamped southern states.
Roughly 69,000 Americans are hospitalized with the disease, up 16% from two weeks ago, although far below the 120,000 seen on this date a year ago, giving leaders hope that the omicron will not lead to the devastating woe the country saw last January.
A push for broader vaccination will loom over Mr. Biden’s remarks. He will acknowledge that vaccinated persons will catch the virus but emphasize the shots’ protection against a bad outcome from infection.
“Our vaccines are the most powerful tools we have — they work to protect people from serious illness and death, and boosters provide people optimal protection. While cases among vaccinated individuals will likely increase due to the more transmissible omicron, evidence to date is that their cases will most likely be mild,” a White House fact sheet says. “In contrast, unvaccinated individuals are at high risk of getting COVID-19, getting severely ill, and even dying.”
Mr. Biden will also deploy mobile vaccine clinics through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, starting with four in New Mexico.
Health, The New York Today