Biden's plan to battle pandemic over winter includes booster shots, free testing, and more mask wearing

Biden announced a five-pronged approach to fighting the pandemic this winter, with a stress on vaccinating those that are not vaccinated, and giving boosters to those that are already vaccinated.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced new plans to battle the COVID-19 pandemic over the winter, as the first cases of the omicron variant have been announced in the US.

Biden announced a five-pronged approach to fighting the pandemic this winter, with a stress on vaccinating those that are not vaccinated, and giving boosters to those that are already vaccinated.

He stated that as of this Christmas, the number of Americans fully vaccinated would likely be around 72 percent, with 86 percent of vulnerable populations being fully vaccinated.

Biden stated that the nationwide booster campaign will be expanded to reach more people, including more hours at pharmacies and clinics for people to get vaccinated.

"Scientists believe that people who get a booster shot are more protected than ever from COVID-19," said Biden, who added that "It not only just raises the total but it's a stronger, makes things more powerful in terms of resisting."

Biden continued to state that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration recommend that all adults get their booster shot when they are eligible to do so.

He said that around 100 million adults over the age of 18 are currently eligible to receive the booster, and have yet to.

"Folks, if you're over the age of 18 and you got vaccinated before June the second, six months has gone by, go get your booster now. Go get it now," said Biden.

Biden noted that booster shots will continue to be free to Americans, and are available at 80,000 locations.

Biden also addressed school aged children, and plans to keep schools open over the winter.

He stressed that parents of children eligible to be vaccinated should take their children to receive their shots as the best protection.

On top of the over 35,000 locations available to get a child vaccinated, Biden announced that his administration is going to launch hundreds of new family vaccination clinics across the country.

"These sites are going to offer vaccinations for the whole family one stop, one stop. Children can get vaccinated. Parents can get vaccinated to get their second first or second shots, or their booster shots," said Biden. "Family vaccination clinics will be held and community health centers another trusted locations. Some will be mobile to reach further into hard to reach communities."

Biden also announced that the CDC is reviewing plans to stay in school including "test to stay" policies that would, allow students to remain in the classroom and be seated more frequently.

Rather than quarantine after a COVID-19 case is reported at school, students can test negative to remain in school.

Biden announced that at home testing must be covered by health insurance. For those not covered by private health insurance, they will have access to free tests at thousands of locations for people to take home.

Surge response teams responsible for helping hospitals overrun with COVID-19 patients will see bolstered numbers under Biden's plan. He said the number will be tripled to 60 teams ready to deploy across the country.

"Additionally, we're increasing the availability of new medications recommended by real doctors, not conspiracy theorists, okay? For example, monoclonal antibody treatments have been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization by up to 70% and for unvaccinated people at risk of developing severe disease. We've already distributed over 3 million courses of these treatment to save lives and reduce the strain on hospitals," said Biden, who noted that there is an anti-viral pill on the horizon of treatments.

The final point Biden stressed was that the United States needs to help vaccinate the rest of the world. He announced that the US will be delivering 200 million doses of the vaccine around the world over the next 100 days.

"It all came from somewhere else and to beat this pandemic. We need to go to where it came from the rest of the world," said Biden.

Biden noted at the end of his speech that inbound international travelers must now obtain a negative COVID0-19 test result within one day off departing. He also stressed that Americans wear masks on aircrafts, trains, and public transportation through the winter to fight the spread of the pandemic.

"Again, the actions I'm announcing are ones that all Americans can rally behind and should unite us in the fight against COVID-19 and they come from a position of strength," said Biden.

"We are better positioned than we were a year ago to fight COVID-19 Since day one of my administration, we've been doing everything we can to beat this virus. And that's what we have to keep doing," he continued.

"That's how we keep our country and our businesses and our schools open. That's how even with a pandemic, we've generated record job creation 5.6 million new jobs since January 20. More than any president in American history. We're on the track to the fastest economic growth in four decades. For decades. We move forward in the face of COVID-19 and the delta variant and we'll move forward in the face of omicron variant as well," Biden concluded.


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