President Joe Biden on Thursday, December 2, announced new actions to combat COVID-19 as the United States heads into the winter months and with the emergence of a new variant, omicron.
“The United States has come far in its fight against the virus and is more prepared than ever to deal with the challenges of COVID-19,” the president said in a statement.
“We have the public health tools we need to continue to fight this virus without shutting down our schools and businesses. As we head into winter, today, the president will announce actions to provide additional protection to Americans and fight the omicron and delta variants, while keeping our economy growing.”
According to a document posted to the White House’s website, the plan includes:
- Boosters for all adults
- Vaccinations to protect kids and keep schools open
- Expanding free at-home testing for Americans
- Stronger public health protocols for safe international travel
- Protections in workplaces to keep our economy open
- Rapid response teams to help battle rising cases
- Supplying treatment pills to help prevent hospitalizations and death
- Continued commitment to global vaccination efforts
- Steps to ensure we are prepared for all scenarios
After the World Health Organization (WHO) named the omicron variant as a variant of concern last week, the White House said the president took immediate steps to restrict travel from the most impacted countries in order to give the U.S. time to learn more about the variant and prepare.
“We have more tools today to fight the omicron variant than we have had to fight previous variants, including delta,” the president stated.
Nearly 60% of Americans are fully vaccinated, booster shots are authorized for all adults, and a vaccine is authorized for kids aged five and older.
“The U.S. is leading the world in vaccinating children, and millions of Americans have already gotten their boosters. And the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing additional antiviral treatments for when people do get sick,” the White House noted in a fact sheet.
“Today’s actions will ensure we are using these tools as effectively as possible to protect the American people against this variant and to continue to battle the Delta variant during the winter months when viruses tend to thrive. These actions will help keep our economy growing and keep Americans safe from severe COVID-19,” the White House said.
Stacy M. Brown is the NNPA Newswire senior national correspondent