Biden Bolsters COVID Fight With Aid For Hospitals, Free Tests
US President Joe Biden accelerated his administration’s coronavirus response on Tuesday as the country faced a surge in cases from a highly contagious new variant, telling anxious Americans that “we should all be concerned about Omicron, but not panicked,” Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Michael D. Shear reported for the New York Times.
Photo Insert: US President Joe Biden during a Coronavirus briefing
In a White House address delivered against the backdrop of a new global struggle to cope with the two-year-old pandemic, Biden said the government will buy a half-billion rapid coronavirus tests and distribute them free to Americans; create new vaccination and testing sites; and send 1,000 military medical professionals to help hospitals nationwide.
“I know you’re tired, really, and I know you’re frustrated,” Biden said, adding that vaccinated Americans should feel comfortable celebrating with their friends and family for the upcoming holidays. “We all want this to be over, but we’re still in it.”
The president said troops will begin arriving in Wisconsin and Indiana this week to aid health care workers at hospitals. He said the first of the new testing sites will open in New York within days.
And he promised to use the Defense Production Act to help manufacturers better meet the demand for testing. He pleaded with Americans who remained unvaccinated to get shots to protect themselves and the people around them from infection. “I honest to God believe it’s your patriotic duty,” Biden concluded.