Biden outlined his coronavirus policy for the upcoming months in an op-ed published at USA Today on Thursday. In the piece, the president said that the rapid spread of the new Omicron variant, which has already spilled over to the US, “is a cause of concern,” but not “for panic.”
In an apparent bid to alleviate fears that the new strain could bring economic recovery to a grinding halt, Biden claimed that he was not considering any sweeping restrictions.
“We are going to fight Covid-19 not with shutdowns or lockdowns – but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more,” he wrote. Some of these measures will see vaccination times extended into nights and weekends and more walk-in vaccination sites open.
Americans can expect to be spammed by pharmacies who will be “spreading the word” about the availability of vaccines, sending “millions of texts and emails to remind their customers.” The administration, in the meantime, will reach out to some 60 million Americans on Medicare, Biden revealed.
As part of his plan to keep schools open, Biden said that the government would step up its vaccination campaign targeting children as young as five, as well as open “hundreds of new family vaccination clinics.” The president also said he would require private insurers to cover the cost of at-home rapid tests, noting that the tests would be readily available for free at “thousands of sites nationwide” for those who lack insurance.
While urging all eligible Americans to get boosters, Biden stated that mass vaccination of the US population alone would not solve the problem, arguing that the US should help other countries to get their populations jabbed.
“We must vaccinate the world and strengthen international travel rules for people coming into the US,” Biden said, adding that the US plans to ship 200 million doses within the next 100 days in addition to 280 million vaccines it had already sent.
As for those who have already been infected with the virus, Biden said that his administration was working to increase “the availability of new medicines, including monoclonal antibody treatments” as well as antiviral pills, when authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration.