President Biden evoked Donald Trump and Operation Warp Speed in a rare flash of praise for his predecessor as he addressed the nation over the omicron variant.
“Just the other day former President Trump announced he had gotten his booster shot — maybe one of the few things he and I agree on,” Biden said at the White House Tuesday.
Biden urged everyone to follow along and get boosted. He also promised to deliver 500 million free at-home COVID-19 testing kits, send military doctors and nurses to hard-hit states and attempted to ease fears that this isn’t March of 2020 all over again when the pandemic forced lockdowns.
“Over 200 million Americans should have the peace of mind they did not have in March of 2020,” Biden said referring to those vaccinated. “They’re protected from hospitalization. They’re protected from death.”
He also credited “the prior administration and our scientific community” on vaccines rushed out by then-President Trump under Warp Speed. He also said “It’s your patriotic duty” to get vaccinated.
This all comes as the omicron variant first identified in South Africa has quickly become “the predominant variant across North America and Europe, while the rest of the world braces for the eventual takeover,” as Tuesday’s Johns Hopkins School of Public Health newsletter stated.
Omicron now accounts for 73.2% of the total number of coronavirus infections in the U.S., compared to a week ago when it accounted for only 12.6%, Johns Hopkins added.
“I know you’re tired, and I know you’re frustrated. We all want this to be over. But we’re still in it,” Biden said. “We also have more tools than we had before. We’re ready, we’ll get through this.”
A cornerstone of the plan is for the government to purchase 500 million coronavirus rapid tests for free shipment to Americans starting in January, The Associated Press wrote. People will use a new website to order their tests, which will then be sent by U.S. mail at no charge. The 500 million could be increased, depending on developments, the AP added.
The federal government will also establish new testing sites and use the Defense Production Act to help manufacture more tests.
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