Biden sweetens Covid policy with more freebies — Analysis

US to present away high-quality face coverings after setting international file for brand spanking new Covid-19 instances

After two years of preventing the Covid-19 pandemic and inside days of setting a recent international file for infections, Washington is making ready to roll out a brand new initiative: making protecting masks accessible to all People.

President Joe Biden mentioned on Thursday that his administration will announce particulars subsequent week as to the way it will present free entry to “high-quality” masks. With vaccines proving largely ineffective in stopping the unfold of Covid’s extremely transmissible Omicron variant, mask-wearing is being re-emphasized as a mitigation technique.

“They’re an necessary software to cease the unfold of Covid-19, particularly Omicron,” Biden mentioned. He added that the federal government will buy an extra 500 million coronavirus exams, doubling a stockpile created to make at-home testing free for all People upon request.

The masks push is a part of what Biden referred to as a “whole-of-government Covid-19 surge response” amid Omicron’s speedy unfold. The US broke its personal each day file for brand spanking new instances of the virus on Monday, tallying almost 1.5 million, and hospitalizations had been at an all-time excessive of 151,000 on Wednesday. The nation has suffered 845,000 deaths up to now within the pandemic.

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Omicron has up to now confirmed to be comparatively gentle in comparison with earlier strains. Most of the present Covid-19 hospitalizations are incidental, that means sufferers examined optimistic for the virus throughout routine screening after being admitted for unrelated medical remedy. New York Governor Kathy Hochul earlier this month requested hospitals in her state to start out breaking down their Covid-19 information to point out incidental instances, after it got here to gentle that upward of 65% of sufferers at some places had been hospitalized with the virus – not due to the virus.

Biden, who beforehand made the false declare that solely unvaccinated folks had died from Covid-19, acknowledged on Thursday that People have grown weary of mitigation measures. However, he mentioned, masks are an necessary software in stopping new infections, and vaccines will guarantee higher well being outcomes. “Proper now, each vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are testing optimistic, however what occurs after that might not be extra totally different,” the president famous.

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Nevertheless, he didn’t specify what sort of face coverings might be given out, apart from to say they are going to be “high-quality” masks. One other a part of Biden’s surge response is to deploy extra navy medical groups to assist hospitals deal with their heavy Covid-19 affected person hundreds. He introduced plans final month to ship 1,000 navy medical staff to assist overwhelmed hospitals.



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