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Biden vows to protect the nation from omicron threat, announces free rapid COVID-19 tests and help for overwhelmed hospitals

Biden to announce free rapid COVID-19 tests

In an effort to combat rising COVID-19 illnesses and the new, highly transmissible omicron strain, President Joe Biden is scheduled to announce the purchase of a half-billion at-home fast COVID-19 tests and the deployment of 1,000 military medical staff to overburdened hospitals.

Building on the winter plan, Biden wants to increase the supply of fast testing, citing shortages that have resulted in long lineups and overburdened hospitals in high-traffic areas as Americans travel across the country for the holidays. An administration official briefing reporters on the plans declined to reveal how many free at-home tests Americans will be allowed to take through a new website, but did say they will be mailed.

The announcement comes as the country, exhausted after nearly two years of epidemic, faces a new setback in the form of the omicron variety, which accounted for 73% of new cases last week.

Biden is expected to reassure Americans that the administration is equipped to deal with the rising case numbers, while giving a stern notice to unvaccinated people who are still causing hospitalizations and deaths. The president will announce plans to dispatch six emergency response teams to Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona, New Hampshire, and Vermont, as well as the establishment of new federal testing centers, the first of which will open this week in New York City.

For further details on USA TODAY, click here; https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/12/21/biden-speech-tuesday-new-covid-steps-stark-warning-unvaccinated/8969321002/

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