The federal government next month will begin sending free Covid home testing services to any U.S. city requesting one, says a senior administrative official, as the omicron variant of the coronavirus contributes to new outbreaks.
The White House is preparing to send up to 500 million kits, and is launching a website for people to submit their applications, the official said, without specifying how many tests each home could receive or how quickly.
The federal government is also planning to establish more than 20,000 new testing centers across the country, with the first opening in New York City just before Christmas, the official said.
President Joe Biden is scheduled to deliver a speech on Tuesday about the administration's plan to fight the epidemic this winter.
Testing is still one of the biggest challenges for managers, as long lines are formed at testing centers in recent days and fast-selling home-based tests, public health officials have said.
The U.S. it also lags behind other countries in making tests affordable. In some countries, fast tests sell for as little as $ 1, and a package of two tests can cost U.S. consumers. more than $ 20. Biden had previously instructed insurance companies to pay for home inspection costs to policyholders, but that still requires pre-payment costs to consumers, who have to apply and wait for refunds.
In addition to explaining the details of free testing facilities and facilities, Biden will announce on Tuesday that it has directed 1,000 military members to help hospitals improve staffing and send the Federal Emergency Management Agency to set up overcrowded hospitals, state officials said.
To help hospitals, the Department of Defense will begin sending staff, including doctors, nurses and doctors, to hospitals that need help from next month, the official said. Eight states set hospital records on Sunday, including Ohio and Wisconsin, according to a NBC News survey of data from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Biden is expected to discuss the threat posed by the omicron diversity, warning that a growing number of vaccinated individuals may be infected in the coming months. In doing so, you will emphasize that the data to date shows that Covid vaccines protect against serious illnesses, especially when combined with encouraging shots.
“Because the omicron is so easily spread, we will see fully vaccinated people getting Covid-19. But vaccinated people who receive Covid may not have any mild symptoms or symptoms, ”said the chief executive officer. "Because of that strong defense, the president will tell the American people that if they are vaccinated and follow the procedure we all know well, especially to cover their faces while on the trip, they should feel free to celebrate Christmas and holidays."
But Biden is expected to give the worst impression to the 40 million uninvited people in the US
"If you are not vaccinated, you are at high risk of becoming ill," said the official. "These differences are highly contagious, with uninvited people eight times more likely to be hospitalized and more likely to be killed by Covid 14 times."
There is still much that is not known about the omicron variant, which now causes most of the new U.S. cases. Top U.S. health officials they say it is more contagious than delta diversity, which was already more contagious than alpha diversity. It is not clear whether the omicron variant is very dangerous, but even if a small percentage of those infected are very sick, its infectious condition can lead to more or more deaths compared to previous mutations.
Some hospitals also struggle to use all available tools to combat the epidemic. Centers in New York have said they are no longer able to provide monoclonal antibody treatment because they have run out of supplies, especially treatments from GlaxoSmithKline that have been shown to work against the omicron variant.
The Department of Health and Human Services said it had halted the distribution of antibodies but hospitals would begin receiving treatment for GlaxoSmithKline's sotrovimab antibody early Tuesday. The current supply of sotrovimab is limited, but the US expects to have an additional 300,000 doses next month, a spokesman for the organization said.
CORRECTION (Dec. 21, 8:25 a.m.): An earlier version of this article spoke negatively of the number of new testing centers Biden managers are planning to set up during a recent surgery. The actual new number is unknown, not 20,000, the number of active sites currently in use.