pictureCredit score …Doug Mills / The New York Occasions
WASHINGTON – President Biden on Thursday mentioned he was directing his employees to buy an extra 500 million coronavirus exams for distribution to People, doubling the federal government’s earlier buy as his administration scrambles to reply to the extremely contagious Omicron variant.
The announcement, which got here when Mr. Biden delivered remarks on the pandemic, brings to 1 billion the whole variety of exams to be given away freed from cost.
“That may imply a billion exams in whole to fulfill future demand,” Mr. Biden mentioned. “And we’ll proceed to work with the retailers and on-line retailers to extend availability.”
However it’s unclear when the exams might be out there. Mr. Biden introduced the primary batch of 500 million exams simply earlier than Christmas, and the primary batch from that announcement won’t begin being delivered till later this month, in accordance with White Home officers. Particulars about how People can request these exams, together with a government-run take a look at web site, are slated to be unveiled on Friday.
The president didn’t say when the brand new batch of 500 million exams might be manufactured and prepared for distribution. However he mentioned the at-home exams – together with greater than 20,000 testing websites across the nation – will assist to fulfill the surging demand as individuals attempt to proceed work, college and social life regardless of the speedy unfold of the virus.
“We’re on monitor to roll out an internet site subsequent week the place you possibly can order free take a look at shipped to your own home,” he mentioned, including that folks with medical insurance coverage also can quickly get reimbursed for the acquisition of as much as eight exams a month.
Mr. Biden mentioned his administration will even be asserting a plan subsequent week to make sure that People have entry to high-quality masks. Specialists have mentioned that KN95 and N95 masks shield higher in opposition to the Omicron variant than the extra frequent fabric or surgical masks.
He didn’t present any particulars about that effort throughout his remarks.
The announcement about exams comes because the president additionally introduced on Thursday that the administration is sending a complete of 120 navy medical personnel to 6 states, the start of a deployment of 1,000 service members to assist hospitals take care of a surge in circumstances from the Omicron variant , White Home officers mentioned.
Mr. Biden appeared alongside Lloyd J. Austin III, the protection secretary, and Deanne Criswell, the director of the Federal Emergency Administration Company, on the White Home to element the groups heading to hard-hit communities throughout the nation. Mr. Biden mentioned late final month that he can be tapping the navy to assist hospitals early in January.
The president mentioned the brand new groups of medical doctors, nurses and different medical personnel would start arriving at hospitals in Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island, with a view to assist triage sufferers arriving at hospitals, permitting short-staffed emergency departments to unencumber house.
The deployments are a part of the Biden administration’s efforts to deal with the most recent surge of circumstances brought on by the extremely contagious Omicron variant. Because it has surged, so have new circumstances, reaching greater than 780,000 a day throughout the nation. The variety of People hospitalized with Covid-19 has hit a file excessive of about 142,000.
For Mr. Biden, the lack to get management of the pandemic has helped drag down his approval scores as he enters his second 12 months in workplace. His aides are intent on publicly speaking their efforts to take care of the virus.
Since Thanksgiving, when Omicron was first found in South Africa, the administration has despatched over 800 navy and emergency personnel to 24 states, tribes and territories, officers mentioned, not counting the personnel Mr. Biden introduced on Thursday.
As well as, greater than 14,000 Nationwide Guard members have been activated in 49 states to assist at hospitals with vaccinations, testing and different medical companies, officers mentioned. These deployments have been paid for by the American Rescue Plan, a legislation that Mr. Biden championed at the start of his time period.
“To the navy medical groups on the bottom, thanks for all every little thing you are doing,” the president mentioned.
Officers mentioned there would doubtless be additional deployments of navy medical personnel within the days forward because the nation continues to wrestle with the pandemic.