Biden announces new plan to fight COVID
President Biden announces new measures to combat Covid and the new Omicron variant.
get the nation to come together, unite the nation and a common purpose to fight these fires. To protect one of, to protect our economic recovery. And to think of it in terms of literally a patriotic responsibility rather than uh, somehow you're denying people their basic rights. I plan, I'm announcing today is the plan our scientists and covid teams have recommended. And while my existing federal vaccination requirements have been reviewed by the courts, this plan does not expand or add to those mandates a plan that all americans hopefully can rally around and it should be and should get bipartisan support in my humble opinion and that should unite us not continue to separate us. Parenthetically, you all know that they're literally as it relates to whether or not we're going to pay the federal debt, whether we're going to in fact have a continued resolution, et cetera. Some of my friends on the other team are arguing that if I don't commit that there'll never be any more mandates, they're gonna let us default in the neighborhood. I came from a claimant, they'd look at me and say, go figure, go figure. But before I explain these new action in more detail, I want to and I'm not going to embarrass you doc, but I want to thank Francis Collins. You know, you've done an incredible job doc here at NIH, one of the most important scientists of our time, in my view. No, I'm not being solicitous. I think I'm I'm not exaggerating a bit after I was elected president. Dr Collins was one of the first calls, I think you're the second call I made to ask you if you stay on the second call I made because when I was vice president I got to know dr Collins really well when I was given the opportunity to manage the cancer. Moonshot initiative and Dr Collins is an incredible resource for our nation. I'm grateful. I mean this sincerely, I'm grateful for everything he's done in this pit for this pandemic and advancing all kinds of medical breakthroughs including mapping the human genome. He recently announced he's going to step down as director of the NIH this month after a truly consequential tenure. But the good news really is Dr Collins is going to return to the lab, the national Human genome Research Institute and we look forward to his unmatched ability to unlock possibilities with that are within our reach and dock the bad news for you is you ain't getting rid of me man. I'm going to keep calling you all the time because there's a lot of other things we can do. You can do and help me to get done. You just tell me a point me in the direction and I'll follow. I just received a briefing from dr Collins and Fauci and dr Lawrence tabak as well as dr julie Ledgerwood and I appreciate it very much. My only regret was it was a short meeting. So because I would come and speak. I think we would all benefit more if we had made my speech short and spent more time with these docks. But you know, as they study the omicron variant just that we have just two cases reported here in the United States. But as I explained that money, this new variant is cause for concern but not panic. We know there'll be k we knew there'd be cases of this, of omicron here in the United States and it's here but we have the best tools, the best vaccines in the world and the best medicine and the best scientists in the world. We're going to fight this variance with science and speed, not chaos and confusion, Just like we beat back COVID-19 in the spring and more powerful variant delivery in the summer and fall. As a result, we entered this winter from a position of strength compared to where America was last winter. Last Christmas, fewer than 1% of American adults are fully vaccinated. This Christmas that number will be 77, including more than 86% of seniors. The most vulnerable population. Last christmas our Children were at risk without a covid 19 vaccine. This christmas we have safe effective vaccines for Children age five and older With 20 million Children and counting now vaccinated last year, a majority of our schools were closed christmas time in that area. Now over 99% of our schools are open but I pledge to always be straight and give it just straight from the shoulder as President, United States and tell the american people exactly where we are. So here here it is, Experts say the COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the weeks ahead in this winter. So we need to be ready. You can read the whole plan we're talking about here at White House dot gov. Go to White house dot gov. It's all laid out in detail for now. Here are the five key points. I want to expand on slightly. We're expanding our national booster campaign to provide booster shots to all eligible adults. Our docs and the scientists believe That people who get a booster shot are more protected than ever from COVID-19. I was just told with the question I got to ask. I was meaning to ask for a long time whether or not not just it increases the the the resistance of the variant that is being dealt with. But it also is it is stronger. It not only just raises the total but it's it's a stronger, makes things more powerful in terms of resisting and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, the Food and Drug Administration, the FDA and our top public officials recommend all adults. All adults get a booster shot when it's time. But here's the deal. More than about 100 million are eligible for boosters but haven't gotten the booster shot yet Folks, if you're over the age of 18 and you got vaccinated before June the second six months has gone by, go get your booster now, go get it Now, Booster shots continue to be free. We've already made available 80,000 locations coast to coast United States. America 80,000 locations to get the booster. And if you want to know exactly where to go, text your zip code 243 88-9 to find where you can get your booster shot. Now. Now and starting today, we're making it easier than ever to get a booster shot. I'm calling on pharmacies and they've been cooperative big and small to offer more appointments, more walking hours including weeknights and weekends. So you can get vaccinated at a time that works best for you and your family pharmacies will send millions of texts and emails to remind their customers to return through the booster shots because you know who got the booster shot at cbc. They they're they're now they've agreed they're gonna send text to that particular person when their time is up when, when they met there. If it's if his fighter and Moderna six months if it's J&J two months and to reach our seniors, we're also collaborating with the american Association, retired person, a Sharp Who will be reaching out to the 38 million members, they're going to make an aggressive effort, they're gonna be hosting virtual town halls to answer questions and even arrange rides for seniors to get their booster shots. And so that will all be coming. My administration also contacted the 64, will contact the 64 million people on Medicare to remind them to get their booster shots. We have the ability to do that from the federal level. And just like I did to make it easier for folks to get their 1st and 2nd shots. I'm providing paid off time for any federal employee who goes to get their booster. If the only time they can get the booster where they are, if it's at such and such a day in the middle of the day, they can go. All they have to do is demonstrate that's where they went and they took their son, daughter, husband, wife, mom, dad. They get paid. They don't get docked their pay. And I'm asking other employers in the private sector to do the same thing. I want you to have to choose between a paycheck and get an additional protection for a booster shot. I want to reiterate DR Fauci and DR Collins. Believe if you're worried about omicron variant, the best thing to do is get fully vaccinated and then get your booster shot when, when you're when you're eligible. Excuse me, We don't yet believe, excuse me that additional measures will be needed, but so that we're prepared if needed. My team is already working with officials at fighter moderna, johnson and johnson to develop contingency plans for other vaccines or boosters and I'll also direct the FDA and the CDC to use the fastest process available without cutting corners for safety to get such vaccines renewed, reviewed and renewed, reviewed and approved if they're needed. Second. We're expanding our efforts to vaccinate Children ages five and up for any parent worried about omicron variant or the delta variant, get your child vaccinated At one of the 35,000 locations in the country, including doctors offices, Pharmacies, children's hospitals and 9000 pop up clinics at schools. If you're wondering where to go again, visit vaccines dot com and today I'm announcing that we're going to launch hundreds of new family vaccination clinics across the country. These sites are gonna offer vaccinations for the whole family. One stop one stop. Children can get vaccinated, parents can get vaccinated and get their 2nd 1st or second shots or their booster shots. Family vaccination clinics will be held in community health centers and other trusted locations. Some will be mobile to reach further into hard to reach communities if it's booster shots for adults vaccinations for kids all the same place at the same time. Now, you know, when we first announced, I said the logistical problem, it wasn't just, we didn't have enough vaccines when we got into office. But once we got the vaccine, the logistical effort to get all communities in all areas vaccinated was a gigantic logistical undertaking that would make any military proud of being able to do it. But because of the incredible talent including our military we got that done and we can do the same thing now as we continue to expand. We know parents of Children under the age of five are wondering when the vaccine will be available for the little ones. That's the question I must get off and asked now at functions we had a function celebrating hanukkah and christmas and various things at the white house. The parents coming up to me are saying I have a three year old is there going to be a time that that can am I gonna be okay? She gonna be okay or he gonna be okay. And let me say this. I strongly support the independent scientific view of vaccine uses for Children under five. We can't take shortcuts with that scientific work but I'll do everything in my power support the FDA to do this safely and quickly as possible when we get to that around. At that point vaccinating our Children is also critical to keeping our schools open. But while over 99% of our schools are open now we need to make sure that we keep that throughout the winter this winter. The C. D. C. Is now reviewing pioneering approaches like recall test to stay test to stay policies which can allow students to stay in the classroom and be tested frequently when a positive case in that classroom popped up. It wasn't them up to now you can go home and you quarantine but rather than being sent home and quarantine, they'll be able to stay by B. P. S. A. Tests to be available. And regularly the CDC will be releasing the latest science and other findings in the coming weeks so that other schools can learn from, from, from the impediment. Excuse me. Uh, if there's any impediments in this practice, they can learn to implement exactly what the best way to do this is. It's a process we want our Children to school and we're going to take new steps to make sure they stays that way. But again, the best step is to vaccinate your Children, get them vaccinated. The third this one we're going to make free at home test more available to americans than ever before to better detect and control the delta variant I may testing more available affordable and convenient. I use the defense production act to increase production of rapid test including at home test when I came into office. None of these tests were on the market thanks to our actions and the work of all of you, we now have at least eight at home testing options and prices for those tests are coming down but it still isn't good enough. In my view that's why I am announcing that health insurers must cover the cost of at home testing So that if you're one of the 150 million Americans with private health insurance next month, your plan will cover at home test. Private insurers already covered the expensive pcr test and that you get in the doctor's office and now they will cover at home test as well. Now for those not covered by private insurance, we're going to make available free test at thousands of convenient locations, locations for folks to pick them up and take a test kit home. The bottom line this winter, you'll be able to test for free and the comfort of your home and have some peace of mind. This is on top of the 20,000 sites already around the country, like pharmacies where you can go in and get tested for free. We have to keep this going 4th. We're going to continue to help communities that experience rising cases this winter and improve the care Care for those who get COVID-19 Since this summer, we worked with Republican and Democratic governors, as many Republican governors as Democratic governors to deploy. What we call surge response teams. These teams work. They provide needed staff for staff overruns, uh, badly needed staff. Were overrun hospitals are handling more patients than they can they can handle for their emergency rooms and intensive care units who don't have a personnel available to help provide life saving treatments and communities in need like monoclonal. Uh, and anybody treatments. We have over 20 teams deployed now Too. Damn announcing that we're going to triple that. More than double. We're gonna get to 60 teams ready to deploy in states experienced a surge in cases over the course of this winter, I was just with a governor in Minnesota who was raving about the positive impact that's had on his state, but there's other states the same in the same circumstance. Additionally, we're increasing the availability of new medications recommended by real doctors, not conspiracy theorists. Okay, for example, monoclonal antibody treatments have been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization By up to 70 and for unvaccinated people at risk of developing severe disease. We've already distributed over three million courses of this treatment to save lives and reduce the strain on hospitals and we're we're we we have a promising new arrival pill assuming antiviral pills on the horizon That could help prevent hospitalizations and death for people infected by COVID-19. We've secured enough supply of these pills already. And early indications are that these treatments will remain effective in the face of omicron. We don't know that for sure yet, but that's the hope and expectation and like with the distribution of the vaccines, we will ensure that these medicines will be available to the hardest hit communities in America as well. Fifth. And finally, as you see with covid 19 and the delay variants. And now with omicron variant all that emerged elsewhere. It all came from somewhere else and ultimately beat this pan to beat this pandemic. We need to go to where it came from and the rest of the world. We also need to vaccinate the rest of the world. America has in my view, continues to lead in that effort. We've shipped for free more vaccines around the world than all other countries in the world combined. Every other country combined Over 280 million vaccines so far. To 110 countries including South Africa, where we delivered all the doses they requested. Now too. Damn announcing that will accelerate the delivery of more vaccines to countries that needed Pleasure to deliver $200 million dollars more doses within the next 100 days On our way to delivery more than one billion 200 million doses for the rest of the world. Let me be clear there's not a single vaccine dose America ever sends, the rest of the world will ever come at the expense of any american. I'll always make sure that our people are protected first. But vaccinating the world is not just a moral tool, a moral obligation that we have in my view, it's how we protect americans. As we're seeing with this new variant, America is doing our part and we'll do more. But this is a global pandemic and everyone needs to fight it together. And that includes countries we're helping that aren't particularly friendly toward us. Their populations are in trouble to their credit. The scientific community, particularly in South Africa, quickly notified the world of the emergence of this new variant. This kind of transparency is to be encouraged and applauded because it increases our ability to respond quickly to any new threats and that's what we did. On the very day the World Health Organization identified the new variant. I took an immediate step to restrict travel from the countries in South and Southern Africa but while we know the travel restrictions can slow the spread of omicron, they cannot prevent it but it does give us a little more time to take more precautions at home to prepare. A month ago we announced requirements that foreign travelers must be vaccinated if entering the United States. This week I announced an additional action to strengthen international travel rules to give us more time to stop the spread and study a new variant. It used to be that international travel, flying to the United States traveler flying the United States had to test negatively three days before their departure from the country. Well I'm announcing today that all inbound international travelers must test within one day of departure regardless of their vaccination status or nationality. This title testing timetable provides an added degree of protection as scientists continue to study the omicron variant and we are extending the requirement both internationally and domestically to wear masks for travel on aircraft trains, public transportation through the winter months. I'll close with this again. The actions I'm announcing are ones that all americans can rally behind And should you nine us in the fight against COVID-19 and they come from a position of strength. We are better positioned Then. We were a year ago to fight COVID-19 since day one of my administration, we've been doing everything we can to beat this virus and that's what we have to keep doing. That's how we keep our country and our businesses and our schools open. And that's how even with the pandemic, we've generated record job creation, 5.6 million new jobs since January 20. More than any president in american history. We're on the track to the fastest economic growth in four decades in four decades. We move forward in the face of COVID-19 an adult of area and we'll move forward in the face of omicron variant as well. And we'll do it by keeping the faith and doing it together as the United States of America, let me close again by saying, God bless our doctors, our scientists and all of you here at NIH for what you're doing for the country. And quite frankly for the world. You're the best. You're the very, very best. Thank God bless you all. Thank you for your patience and listening to me. Thank you. I'm a man. And if you don't have to look at his stuff out on Carlos. Well, he's coming in this morning and she don't take checks in with me Is that he was thinking about trying this. Will there be a government shutdown on friday, sir? No. How would you do it? How could you ask such a silly question? Look, I don't believe that will happen. We have everything in place to be able to make sure there is not a shutdown. Unless some individual not. I spoke with mitch. McConnell spoke with schumer.