Facing Omicron, Biden relies on tests and vaccines, not restrictions

Face & agrave; Omicron, Biden bets on tests and vaccines, not restrictions

MISE & Agrave; DAY

Washington | Tests, strengthened vaccination capacities and additional resources for hospitals, but no new restrictions before Christmas: the White House detailed Tuesday the strategy of Joe Biden against the Omicron variant, which is sweeping the country. & nbsp;

A senior White House official detailed at a press conference, which was under embargo, the measures to be announced by the US president at 7:30 p.m. GMT (2:30 p.m. local time ), while the new variant of COVID-19 is now the majority in new infections in the United States.

The tone is as proactive as it is reassuring: “We have the tools to face this wave,” said this source, adding that if Americans “are vaccinated and follow the precautions that we know well, in particular wear a mask when they travel, they can celebrate Christmas and the holiday season with peace of mind. ”

“ There is no need to confine our schools or our economy, ”the senior official added. >

The response of the Biden administration follows three principles: more hospital resources, more tests, more vaccines.

The federal government will mobilize a thousand doctors, nurses and medical personnel from the army, who can be deployed if necessary across the country in January and February.

Washington is also already sending additional emergency teams to six states (Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona, New Hampshire and Vermont), and prepare emergency transportation and supplies (protective equipment and respirators) for hospitals that may have them need.

“We are ready for an increase, which we anticipate, in hospitalizations of unvaccinated people in the coming months,” said the previously cited source.

The Biden administration will also act in an area where it is has been widely criticized, that of screening, by purchasing 500 million rapid tests for COVID-19, to be done at home. They will be delivered free of charge to Americans who request them via a dedicated website, starting in January.

The federal government is also promising to open new vaccination centers.

“We have to take Omicron seriously, we have to be concerned about it but we must not panic,” the senior official said, echoing Joe Biden's refrain.

The American president, who was elected on the promise of ending the pandemic, is playing very big in an America both tired of COVID-19, anxious about the arrival of the very contagious Omicron variant and still partly refractory to vaccination.

The Democrat, who is already struggling to impose a vaccination obligation in large companies, has therefore not decided to the moment to tighten the screw even more, for example by imposing sanitary measures for domestic flights.

Cancellations of shows and sporting events are increasing in the United States, some cities such as Boston are putting strengthened health protocols and in some areas, schools have decided to not to reopen their doors immediately after the Christmas holidays.

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