President Joe Biden will announce a strategy at the National Institutes of Health on Thursday to fight COVID-19 in the coming winter months — a plan that includes rigid testing requirements for travelers entering the United States and insurers covering the cost of home tests.
The winter plan also includes encouraging booster shots for all adults and vaccinating children to keep schools open.
The new strategy comes amid the threat of a new mutation, the Omicron variant, which scientists are still trying to get a handle on.
Biden is scheduled to announce the plan in a visit to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., at 1:40 p.m. EST.
“We have more tools today to fight the Omicron variant than we have had to fight previous variants, including Delta,” the White House said in a statement. “Nearly 60% of Americans are fully vaccinated, booster shots are authorized for all adults, and a vaccine is authorized for kids aged 5 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 is reviewing additional antiviral treatments for when people do get sick.”
The Biden administration said the president’s efforts also will include strengthening public health protocols for safer international travel, adding workplace protections to keep businesses open and employing rapid response teams in areas with rapidly rising cases.
The White House said the government will consider supplying treatment pills to help prevent coronavirus-related hospitalizations and deaths.As part of Biden’s strategy, insurers will be required to cover the cost of at-home coronavirus tests, the White House said. File Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI
Last week, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended emergency authorization for the experimental COVID-19 pill molnupiravir from Merck, which has been shown to be effective as a treatment.
Biden will also visit Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Thursday before making his announcement.
“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,” the White House added.
“These actions will help keep our economy growing and keep Americans safe from severe COVID-19.”
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