Pres. Joe Biden has signaled a new direction in the winter fight against COVID-19. He announced that the government will provide 500 million free rapid home tests, increase support for hospitals under strain and redouble vaccination and boosting efforts.
Emphasizing that his plan is not political, he said it’s Americans’ “patriotic duty” to get vaccinated. He pointed out that former Pres. Donald Trump has gotten his booster shot.
“It’s the only responsible thing to do,” Biden said. “Omicron is serious and potentially deadly business for unvaccinated people.”
Biden said the government has purchased 500 million coronavirus rapid tests for free shipment to Americans starting in January. People will use a new website to order their tests, which will then be sent by U.S. mail at no charge, the White House said. It marks a major shift for Biden, who earlier had called for many Americans to purchase the hard-to-find tests on their own and then seek reimbursement from their health insurance.
The federal government will also establish new testing sites and use the Defense Production Act to help manufacture more tests.