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President Biden Lays Out Strategy as Omicron Surges Ahead of Holidays

President Biden laid out his plan Tuesday to fight the COVID-19 omicron variant. The strain is the now most dominant in the country and is expected to surge over the holidays.

The President’s strategy includes the deployment of military personnel to help overwhelmed hospitals, more federal testing sites, and free at-home testing kits to help control the spread of this highly transmissible variant.

With millions traveling over the Christmas holiday, the President addressed the threat of the omicron variant.

“Because Omicron spreads so easily we’ll see some fully vaccinated people get Covid, potentially in large numbers. But these cases are highly unlikely to lead to serious illness,” Biden said.

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However, the sheer number of cases is expected to put a huge burden on hospitals.

Biden pointed out that vaccinations, including boosters, offer the best protection, warning the unvaccinated are putting their lives at risk.

“Your choice can be the difference between life or death,” he said,” I got my booster shot as soon as were available. And just the other day former President Trump announced he had gotten his booster shot. It may be one of the few things he and I agree on.”

With omicron now in all but one state, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky highlighted concerns, “This is exactly the rate of rise that we’ve seen in other countries and what we are anticipating here. The virus doubles at a rate of somewhere around one and a half to every three days. And so, this is what we’ve been anticipating. This is what we’ve been preparing for.”

In addition to sending military personnel to help overwhelmed hospitals, the president’s plan includes tapping the national stockpile of masks, gloves, and ventilators, as well as increasing testing sites.

This as long lines form in cities across the country as many seek to get tested before the holiday starts. Miriam Van Harn a New York resident said, “Getting a rapid test today is the best way I can know if I can spend time with my family.”

The plan also calls for the distribution of half a bill-free at-home rapid tests in January to any American who requests one. The President quickly reassured the nation the rise in COVID cases is not the same as the dark days of last year. “This is not March of 2020. 200 million people are vaccinated. We’re prepared. We know more. We just have to stay focused,” he said.

The FDA is expected to authorize pills to treat covid by drugmakers Pfizer and Merck soon. Meanwhile, Israel has announced plans for a fourth COVID shot to protect people over the age of 60, leading to questions that another round of boosters might be necessary.

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