Yesterday President Biden was at the National Institute of Health where he outlined a winter covid plan to stave off the omicron variant and help get more Americans boostered and vaccinated. After all the terrible news this week it was a balm to watch Biden’s speech. Biden has the best strategists and scientists on his team and they’ve come up with a way to keep us as safe. He not going to impose further vaccine mandates or lockdowns and they’re taking other measures. They’re going to make at-home covid tests covered by private health insurance for people who have it and free for people without. Plus they’re adding family vaccination centers throughout the US and are increasing the number of government rapid response teams to 60. These teams will be deployed to hospitals and areas with a high case load. Here’s a link to the full plan from the White House and a link to the transcript of Biden’s speech. The video is embedded below. I’ve also included a shorter video from Fauci with the highlights. I’m quoting CNBC here because they have a good overview.
President Joe Biden on Thursday said his plan to fight Covid during the winter months will not include new lockdowns or an expansion of the administration’s current vaccination requirements.
“It doesn’t include shutdowns or lockdowns, but widespread vaccinations and boosters and testing a lot more,” Biden told reporters during an update.
“And while my existing federal vaccination requirements are being reviewed by the courts, this plan does not expand or add to those mandates — a plan that all Americans hopefully can rally around, and it should get bipartisan support, in my humble opinion,” the president said.
The administration hopes to increase the number of Americans who have received booster shots by expanding outreach. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will contact the more than 60 million people who are on Medicare, mostly seniors, to remind them to get an additional shot.
Biden said Thursday the administration’s goal is to keep schools open by launching hundreds of family vaccination clinics at community health centers and other locations around the country to make it easier for parents to immunize their kids.
“We want our children in school; we are going to take new steps to make sure it stays that way,” Biden said. “But, again, the best step is to vaccinate your children.”
The plan also includes an expansion of free at-home Covid testing. Americans with private insurance will be reimbursed for the tests, and the administration will distribute 50 million free tests to health centers and rural clinics for people who are uninsured or underserved, according to the president.
Biden said the administration doesn’t believe additional measures are needed at the moment but is developing contingency plans to develop new vaccines and boosters if they’re needed to fight omicron.
“My team is already working with officials at Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson to develop contingency plans for other vaccines or boosters,” Biden said. “And I’ll also direct the FDA and the CDC to use the fastest process available — without cutting corners, for safety — to get such vaccines reviewed and approved if needed.”
The U.S., starting next week, will also require inbound international travelers regardless of vaccination status to get tested 24 hours before their departure. The administration is also extending the mask mandate for domestic flights and public transit until March 18.
Biden also said that we have to make sure the rest of the world is vaccinated. He emphasized that the US ships more vaccines around the world than every other country combined. We’re going to increase that with another 200 million doses in the next 100 days. Watching this made me feel so much better, not only for us but for the countries which need vaccines. I wish that stricter measures were in place to require vaccinations from domestic travelers and in large indoor gatherings at least, but this is likely the best we can do for now. It’s encouraging that at home testing is going to be free and that they’re sending response teams and medication to help in the areas which are hardest hit by covid. He said that they’re relying on recommendations from doctors who aren’t conspiracy theorists!
Also Biden opened with the fact that 30% of the people who have not yet been vaccinated have said that they’re considering it due to the omicron variant. That statistic seems to be from this survey linked by NPR News. The quote in the title is directly from Biden’s speech, and he emphasized that it’s a patriotic responsibility to protect others and that we should unite in this cause. I hope these measures are enough and that the vaccinations and medications are effective against omicron. It really seems like they will be, but we can only wait and see.
President Biden’s speech (As a side note I’m happy the White House turns off comments and that the dislike button has been rendered useless by YouTube):
Dr. Fauci’s overview:
Photos credit: InStar
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