Biden’s multi-pronged approach places a strong emphasis on extending vaccinations to the remaining Americans who have resisted vaccines and providing boosters to the now eligible population of all adults. It also changes the rules on international travel to require testing closer to arrival in the United States.
But he stops before imposing school or business closures, ruling them out as he strives to maintain the country’s economic recovery.
“It doesn’t involve shutdowns or lockouts, but routine vaccinations, boosters, testing and more,” Biden said at the start of his remarks.
He acknowledged a likely increase in cases over the next few weeks, as the weather turns colder across much of the country and people start to congregate more indoors. He noted that his proposed tenure for vaccinations among large employers is currently blocked in court, preventing any new tenure in his winter strategy.
Biden’s speech, delivered from the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, came as cases of the new Omicron variant begin to surface in the United States and countries around the world impose strict new travel restrictions and activities.
Biden touted actions such as restrictions on travel from southern Africa that he said gave his administration time to prepare, and said he would fight the new variant “with science and technology. speed, not chaos and confusion ”.
But he said it was inevitable that cases would arise in the United States, preparing Americans for the continued presence of Covid for the foreseeable future.
“Experts say Covid-19 cases will continue to increase in the coming weeks and this winter,” he said. “So we have to be ready. “
Biden was speaking the day after authorities confirmed the first recorded case of the Omicron variant in the United States, California. A second case was discovered Thursday in Minnesota.
Building on new travel restrictions in regions affected by the spread of the Omicron variant earlier this week, Biden announced new measures tightening the pre-departure Covid testing protocol for all inbound international travelers, requiring a negative test within one day of leaving for the United States.
Any foreign national traveling to the United States must be fully immunized, although there are no vaccination requirements for U.S. citizens traveling by air, either globally or domestically.
The administration had previously officially announced its intention to extend the mask requirement for domestic travel, which was originally scheduled to expire in January, until mid-March. The order, which had already been extended this summer, applies to travel by train and other public transport, and comes amid numerous reports of unruly passengers refusing to comply with mask warrants.
As part of the plan, the administration is increasing awareness of vaccines, including efforts – in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, AARP, and Medicare – to ensure that approximately 100 million Americans are eligible for recalls vaccine recipients receive injections as soon as possible, including the launch of a nationwide public education campaign, town halls and offers of trips to appointments for vaccines and reminders for them. “Hardest Affected and Most at Risk Older Americans.”
The administration also unveiled measures to increase vaccination rates among children with the aim of keeping schools open and protecting children aged 5 and over from contracting Covid-19.
“To date, we have already vaccinated more than 4 million children aged 5 to 11 and 15 million adolescents. Vaccinating our children protects them, keeps schools open and protects everyone around them, ”detailed the White House in a shared information sheet. with journalists on Wednesday.
As part of these efforts, the administration will launch “family vaccination clinics” aimed at offering vaccines and boosters for entire families at once, with the resource and health service administration offering “immunization days”. family ”at participating community health centers across the country and the Federal Emergency Management Agency offering mobile vaccination clinics to reach hard-to-reach communities.
The administration also released a “safe schools checklist” so that schools can safely encourage vaccination and booster efforts and prevent epidemics in schools thanks to new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. of the United States on quarantine and testing.
Biden announced new measures to export vaccines, including 200 million additional doses over the next 100 days, accelerating delivery to high-risk countries, while increasing vaccine manufacturing to increase global production capacity.
The president’s announcement also detailed new measures to increase Covid testing, including requiring private insurers to reimburse the costs of home testing for more than 150 million Americans. In addition, community sites like health centers and rural clinics will offer free home tests for those not covered by private insurance, doubling September’s pledge to offer 25 million free tests to sites. community to 50 million tests.
The President announced more than 60 deployments of Covid emergency response teams in winter available to states to tackle epidemics and the increase in Covid-19 cases nationwide, expanding a program of summer and fall.
“Response teams have helped 27 states and two territories respond to the delta surge by responding to critical needs on the ground,” the senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday.
“To date, we have deployed over 2,000 people, deployed over 3,200 ventilators and other supplies, and shipped over 2.3 million life-saving monoclonal antibody treatments. As we face the new variants and the increase in cases over the winter months tomorrow, the President will renew the federal government’s commitment to help with surges and to help our states, ”the official added.