Joe Biden to announce national coronavirus battle plan

Joe Biden to announce national coronavirus battle plan

Joe Biden is set to announce new actions to fight the coronavirus, including a nationwide campaign to encourage vaccine recalls, an expansion of home testing and tighter restrictions on international travel.

Shaken by the emergence of the Omicron variant and a political backlash from Republicans, the US president will travel to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland on Thursday and establish a pandemic battle plan for the winter months.

Biden will announce measures to ensure that the nearly 100 million eligible Americans who have yet to receive their booster injection do so as soon as possible, the White House said. There is a new urgency to the effort after the first U.S. case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 was identified in California on Wednesday.

The president will pledge to expand pharmacy availability in December while partner pharmacies will send millions of texts, calls and emails to eligible customers with information on how to make an appointment or how to check in. present for a booster injection.

President Joe Biden speaks about the authorization of the Covid vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 on November 3. Photographie : Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

There will also be a public education campaign to encourage adults to get recalls, with a particular focus on the elderly. It will feature paid advertising on multiple channels, engagement with community organizations and media campaigns.

Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser on Covid-19, told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that the recall was “very important”, especially given the rise in antibodies after a third dose.

He added, “Even though we don’t have a lot of data on this, there’s every reason to believe that that kind of increase you get with the boost would be helpful at least in preventing serious illness from a. variant like Omicron. “

The emergence of Omicron demonstrated the tenacity of the virus, which continues to weigh on Biden’s political fortunes. Voters are divided over his handling of the pandemic, with 47% approval and 49% disapproval, according to a recent Washington Post / ABC News poll.

But the White House defended its record, stressing for example that when it came to power more than half of the schools were closed, where today 99% are fully open and in person. On Thursday, the president will unveil actions to vaccinate more children aged five and over.

These include the launch of hundreds of family immunization clinics across the country, providing a “one-stop-shop” of first-time vaccines for parents, teens and children, and reminders for eligible people. There will be “family immunization days” with hundreds of community health centers across the country hosting family immunization clinics throughout December.

Biden will also establish a plan to ensure Americans have access to free home tests. Over 150 million people with private insurance will be reimbursed for home tests; for those not covered, home tests will be distributed to health centers and rural clinics.

A traveler wearing a hazardous materials protective suit walks through the arrivals area at Los Angeles International Airport on November 30. Photographie : Jae C Hong/AP

With the threat posed by the Omicron variant still unclear, early next week the United States will tighten pre-departure testing protocols by requiring all inbound international travelers to complete a test within one day of departure, regardless of whether either their nationality or their vaccination status.

On a conference call with reporters, a senior administration official said: “We have really strengthened our international travel system quite dramatically over the past month or so.

“We believe that strengthening this requirement for pre-departure testing will help detect more potential cases of people who may be positive when they fly around the country and so now is the right time to do so, and we can implement it very quickly. “

On domestic flights, the official added, “the masking requirement is already in place and in fact we will extend this requirement from January until mid-March.”

The pandemic has killed nearly 780,000 people in the United States. Almost 60% of Americans are fully immunized. This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidelines recommending that every adult be given a booster.


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