Biden announces new COVID-19 strategy as omicrons found in US

(NewsNation Now) – President Joe Biden launched a more urgent campaign for Americans to get COVID-19 enhanced snapshot Thursday as he reveals his winter plans to fight coronavirus and concerns about omicron virus variant.

The plan includes requiring private insurers to cover the cost of home COVID-19 testing and tightening testing requirements for people entering the United States regardless of their immunization status. But as several other countries close their borders or reset their lockdowns, officials say Biden will not impose additional restrictions beyond his recommendation that Americans wear face masks indoors in places public.

Biden said on Wednesday that the upcoming strategy, to be announced in a speech at the National Institutes of Health, would fight the virus “not by shutdown or lockdown but by vaccination more widely, boosters, trials, and more.”

The Biden administration has seen widespread adoption of booster shots as the most effective tool to combat COVID-19 this winter. Health experts say boosters provide enhanced and longer-lasting protection against COVID-19, including new variants.

About 100 million Americans qualify for boosters under current US policy, with more qualifying each day. Officials believe it would be much easier to convince those who have already been vaccinated to get another dose than it would be to vaccinate some 43 million American adults. without a shot despite widespread public pressure campaigns to roll up their sleeves.

The administration will ramp up messaging to encourage adults, especially seniors, to get booster doses at local pharmacies, including a town hall campaign through AARP.

Officials say the administration’s upcoming regulation requires private insurers to cover at-home testing and many details remain to be discussed, including what criteria they will meet. be refunded, officials said.

Those covered by Medicare and Medicaid will not be eligible, but the White House says up to 150 million people with private insurance will have easier and cheaper access to at-home tests. The administration says it is making 50 million free COVID-19 tests available to older adults and other vulnerable groups to take at senior centers and community locations.

There are still many unknowns about omicron, including whether it is more contagious, whether it makes people sicker, and whether it could interfere with vaccines.

The campaign comes as scientists are racing to find out what is made of omicrons, from newly discovered to The World Health Organization’s Variant List of Concerns over the next few days.

A person in California becomes the first in the United States to have a definite case of the variant, administration officials confirmed Wednesday. The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, told reporters the person was a traveler who returned from South Africa on November 22 and tested positive on Monday. Fauci said the person had been vaccinated but had not been given a booster shot and was showing “mild symptoms”.

It’s not clear where the new variant first appeared, but scientists in South Africa alerted the World Health Organization, and it has now been seen in visitors to several countries, from Australia to Israel to the Netherlands.

“We have seen a sharp increase in cases over the past 10 days. So far, they have been mostly very mild cases, with patients presenting with flu-like symptoms: dry cough, fever, night sweats, severe body aches,” said Dr. Unben Pillay, a doctor. general practitioner in Gauteng province, said 81%. of the new cases that have been reported.

Adding to the confusion, The Netherlands announced on Tuesday that the omicron variant is available in the country when South Africa alerted the WHO about this last week. The Netherlands’ RIVM health institute found omicrons in samples dating from November 19 and 23.

The CEOs of Pfizer and Moderna, which make highly effective mRNA vaccines used in the US, both said they expect their formulations to need to be tweaked to maintain current levels of protection against the virus. omicron again.

However, they hope their vaccine will protect against serious illness. More complete results from laboratory trials to determine the vaccine’s effectiveness are expected later this month.

Internationally, omicrons are driving the resurgence of stringent pandemic mitigation measures. Japan is blocking any new pre-booked travel into the country until the end of the year.

Greece will penalize residents over the age of 60 who do not get vaccinated. European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said EU countries should consider making vaccinations mandatory. And German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he would support a proposal to require everyone to be vaccinated.

https://kdvr.com/news/biden-announces-new-covid-19-strategies-as-omicron-is-found-in-us/ Biden announces new COVID-19 strategy as omicrons found in US

Emma Bowman

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