Biden announces plans to fight Omicron and Delta variants this winter

THURSDAY December 2, 2021 (HealthDay News)

President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a new round of measures to protect Americans from the spread of variants of the coronavirus.

The strategy will include making rapid COVID-19 home tests free for more people, extending the rules on wearing masks on planes and other modes of transport, launching public awareness campaigns on vaccinations and booster shots, the start-up of mobile family vaccination clinics and the implementation of more stringent measures. testing requirements for travelers arriving in the country.

“Free and highly available rapid tests would be a game-changer,” said Charity Dean, former California health chief and CEO of the Public Health Company. Washington To post. “If we had rapid tests at every door for every school, every movie theater, anyone can go and get them – as they can in many other countries – it would allow people to have personal responsibility and know when they are contagious. “

Under Biden’s new plan, Americans with private health insurance would be reimbursed for the purchase of rapid home coronavirus test kits.

“We now have at least eight home test options and the prices for those tests are dropping, but that’s still not good enough in my opinion,” Biden said during a speech announcing the new strategy. “This is why I am announcing that health insurers must cover the cost of home testing, so if you are one of the 150 million Americans with private health insurance your plan will cover next month. home testing. “

“Ultimately this winter you will be able to test for free in the comfort of your home and have peace of mind,” Biden added.

As part of the overall strategy, it is also expected that a rule requiring travelers to wear masks on planes, trains and buses and at airports and transit stations which was due to expire on January 18 will be extended until ‘in mid-March, someone familiar with the decision said The New York Times.

The measures will allow businesses and schools to remain open while ensuring the safety of people, according to the White House.

“We are doing everything we can to provide people with maximum protection as the winter months approach,” a senior administration official said on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday evening, the To post reported.

New measures to fight the coronavirus are long overdue, according to some public health experts.

They say the reluctance to immunize leaves the nation vulnerable to a possible wave of winter infections, the To post reported.

As of December 1, only 59.4% of Americans were considered fully vaccinated against the virus, the To post reported.

“We’re going the wrong way” on immunization status, said Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, adding that the United States should aim to immunize at least 80% of its population. But “we are at 59 [percent] and discoloration, ”Topol told the To post, and the protection of many vaccinated Americans has likely declined because they have yet to receive boosters.

The country’s testing capacity also remains insufficient, with many Americans unable to get rapid tests they could take before going to work or family gatherings, especially during regional outbreaks, Topol noted. and other experts.

“Much of the next phase of COVID depends on easy and quick access to testing, whether it’s Omicron or early access to oral treatments” or meeting employers’ mandates on vaccines, said Nirav Shah, president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The only thing I’m sure is that I would rather face the vaccinated and boosted Omicron,” said William Hanage, epidemiologist at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. To post. “So the boosters should be a major chord. “

More information

Visit the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn more about COVID test.

THE SOURCE: Washington Post, The New York Times

Robert Preidt and Robin Foster

Medical News
Copyright © 2021 Health Day. All rights reserved.



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