Americas

Joe Biden to fight Omicron with military, 500M home tests as it becomes dominant

President Joe Biden will announce he will send 1,000 military medical professionals to hospitals and mail 500million rapid Covid-19 tests to homes to fight Omicron – as it grips the US as the dominant strain and killed the first American.

Ahead of Biden’s speech scheduled for 2.30pm ET, two senior administration officials on Monday night told reporters that the administration will also open new federal testing sites, according to The New York Times.

The news came hours after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that Omicron accounts for 73% of new coronavirus infections over the last week, making it the dominant variant in the nation.

Biden is set to speak less than 24 hours after the first confirmed Omicron death in the US, a Texas man in his 50s who was not vaccinated and had previously contracted Covid-19.

White House officials have said that Biden will not impose lockdowns amid the surging Omicron variant, and instead emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated and boosted. Biden’s critics deemed him a ‘grim reaper’ for his administration’s doomsday-like approach to Omicron.

On Friday, White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients stated: ‘We are intent on not letting Omicron disrupt work and school for the vaccinated. You’ve done the right thing, and we will get through this.

‘For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.’

Similarly, Biden stated, ‘We are looking at a winter of severe illness and death for the unvaccinated – for themselves, their families and the hospitals they’ll soon overwhelm.

‘But there’s good news: If you’re vaccinated, and you have your booster shot, you’re protected from severe illness and death.’

On Tuesday morning, Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci, called the Omicron variant spread ‘unprecedented’. Fauci added that Omicron cases will ‘double’ every couple of days, but that vaccinated Americans can still gather for Christmas with their families.

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