President Biden will convene his COVID-19 pandemic group on Tuesday to discuss the fast-spreading Omicron option – without setting a start date for a plan to mass-send rapid tests to 500 million homes yet.
The White House has shown a positive response to record levels of coronavirus infection ahead of the meeting at 2 p.m. “At a time when cases are on the rise, including fully aware of the Omicron option, Biden is hearing that fully vaccinated and infected Americans have no serious symptoms,” a White House official said.
Federal statistics on new COVID-19 cases have not been updated since last week on New Year’s Eve. The most recent date for the release of the CDC data – December 29 – recorded a record 486,428 new diagnoses.
The actual rate of infection is believed to be much higher due to the large number of people who are asymptomatic or do not report test results at home.
The Omicron variant managed to avoid more vaccines than previous mutations, and even people who received a third “booster” stroke became ill, including Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) And Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Defense. minister. Lloyd Austin.
Preliminary data, however, suggest that Omicron symptoms may not be severe, and so far deaths have not increased among new infections, but hospitalization rates have risen sharply in New York and other parts of the country.
Large urban areas are particularly hard hit by Omicron. As of last week, one in every 50 Manhattan and DC residents passed a positive test the previous week.
Retailers such as CVS Pharmacy sold test kits in some locations, and large lines appeared on official test sites, forcing FEMA to open federal test sites in difficult areas.
The White House reportedly rejected an expert plan to mass-disseminate rapid tests at home before the possible holiday increase in COVID-19 cases in October. But Biden adopted the idea late last month as the number of cases increased.
The delay in setting up the distribution system for quick tests means they may not arrive on time to fight Omicron.
White House Coronavirus Coordinator Jeff Zients said Wednesday that the program’s first contracts will be signed by the end of this week.
It is unknown when the government website will be launched for people to request rapid tests, how many test kits households can request, or when they will be sent.
Experts from Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health, the Rockefeller Foundation, COVID Collaborative and other groups presented a 10-page plan to White House officials on Oct. 22 that would require 732 million tests per month for the “Test Rise”. To prevent [a] COVID went up on holiday, ”Vanity Fair reported.
The plan said, “Every American household should take free quick tests for the holidays / New Year.”
Biden denied that he put forward the idea. “We didn’t deny it,” Biden said as he left for Delaware last week on the White House lawn.
A White House spokeswoman cut her hair in two on the definition of the word “rejection” – noting that although the idea wasn’t implemented before the holidays as suggested, it wasn’t rejected because it was being tried a few months later. .
“The description of‘ rejection ’does not accurately reflect an effective meeting and in fact we are taking a lot of the measures discussed because the opportunities now allow it to be done,” the spokesman said.