Biden announces measures against new omicron variant 0:56
The White House is preparing to announce this Thursday a series of new actions aimed at combating the covid-19 pandemic and protecting Americans from the delta variant and the newly discovered omicron.
President Joe Biden will detail the administration's nine-point plan in remarks at the National Institutes of Health, a day after officials confirmed the first recorded case of the omicron variant in the United States, specifically in California.
Even with the new omicron variant, vaccines are still the best solution and these are the reasons
"While this new variant is cause for concern, it is not cause for panic," a senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday before the president's remarks.
"We have the tools we need to confront this variant, to continue advancing in our fight against the virus, and we are using these tools to keep people safe, keep our schools open and protect our economy."
Guide for national and international travel
Building on new travel restrictions from regions impacted by the spread of the omicron variant earlier this week, Biden will announce further steps to beef up the covid-19 testing protocol for all inbound international travelers.
It will be required to have a negative test one day before traveling to the United States.
At this time, any foreign national traveling to the US must be fully vaccinated, although there is no vaccination requirement for US citizens traveling by air, either globally or domestically.
The administration will also formally announce its plan to extend a domestic travel mask requirement, originally scheduled to expire in January, through mid-March.
The order, which had already been extended this summer, applies to travel by train and other public transportation, and comes amid widespread reports of unruly passengers refusing to comply with mask-wearing mandates.
The United States confirms its first omicron case in California 2:15
Increase the scope of vaccines and booster doses for the elderly and children
Under the plan, the administration is increasing the scope of vaccines, including booster doses - in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, AARP, and Medicare - to ensure that approximately 100 million Americans are eligible for doses of Covid-19 booster vaccine get vaccinated as soon as possible.
This includes launching a nationwide public education campaign, citizen forums, and offers of transportation to receive the vaccine and booster doses for the nation's "most affected and most at-risk older Americans."
The administration will also unveil measures aimed at increasing vaccination rates among children in an effort to keep schools open and protect those ages 5 and older from contracting COVID-19.
"To date, we have already vaccinated more than 4 million children between the ages of 5 and 11 and 15 million adolescents. Vaccinating our children protects them, keeps schools open and protects everyone around them," explained the House Blanca in a newsletter shared with reporters Wednesday.
As part of those efforts, the administration will launch "family vaccination clinics" aimed at offering vaccinations and boosters for entire families at once. The Health Resources and Services Administration will offer "Family Vaccination Days" at participating community health centers across the country. And the Federal Emergency Management Agency will offer mobile vaccination clinics to reach hard-to-reach communities. The administration will also issue a "Safe Schools Checklist" so that schools can safely encourage vaccination and booster doses and avoid outbreaks through a new guide from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. USA (CDC) on quarantine and testing.
Biden is expected to announce new actions to export vaccines, including 200 million more doses in the next 100 days, accelerating delivery to high-risk countries, while increasing vaccine manufacturing to increase global production capacity.
Expand Outbreak Testing and Response Efforts
Biden's announcement will also detail new steps to increase COVID-19 testing, including news that private insurers will have to reimburse the costs of home testing for more than 150 million Americans covered by private insurance. Additionally, community sites such as health centers and rural clinics will offer free home testing for those not covered by private insurance, doubling the commitment made in September to offer 25 million free tests to community sites, up to 50 million tests.
The president is expected to announce more than 60 winter covid-19 emergency response team deployments available to states to combat outbreaks and increased cases nationwide, expanding a program beginning in the summer and fall.
"Response teams have helped 27 states and two territories respond to the surge in the delta variant by addressing critical needs on the ground," the senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday.
"To date, we have deployed more than 2,000 staff members, increased more than 3,200 ventilators and other supplies, and shipped more than 2.3 million cycles of lifesaving monoclonal antibody treatments. As we tackle new variants and the increase in cases during the winter months, the president will renew the commitment of the federal government to help with the surges and help our states, ”added the official.