Biden Unveils ‘Test to Treat’ for COVID in State of the Union

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March 2, 2022 — In his first State of the Union deal with on Tuesday night, President Joe Biden urged People to not let their guard down in opposition to COVID-19 and pledged to make extra exams and coverings obtainable. On Wednesday, his group unveiled plans to get began.

The brand new Nationwide COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, which officers stated would require motion from Congress – focuses on preserving companies and colleges open, bettering entry to testing and remedy, and stopping future public well being crises.

“By defending in opposition to and treating covid, getting ready for any new variants, stopping financial and college shutdowns, and vaccinating the world and saving lives, the president’s COVID-19 Preparedness Plan will allow us to maneuver ahead safely to get again to our extra regular routines,” stated White Home Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients at a Wednesday briefing.

Zients elaborated on the “check to deal with” initiative the president talked about throughout his State of the Union deal with on Tuesday, which might increase entry to antiviral capsules and different COVID-19 remedies.

This month, a whole lot of one-stop websites will open throughout the nation that may enable individuals to obtain remedy for COVID-19 instantly after testing optimistic, Zients stated. Places will embrace native pharmacy clinics, group well being facilities, long-term care amenities, and veterans’ well being amenities.

Congressional leaders have already been briefed on the necessity for near-term funding to safe extra vaccines, antivirals remedies, and continued vaccines analysis, the White Home stated. The quantity wanted was not disclosed.

Prime infectious illness knowledgeable Anthony S. Fauci, MD, stated the plan’s deal with vaccine analysis and growth would assist to make sure that any “up to date vaccines could be developed, accredited and manufactured in roughly 100 days.”

Together with increasing entry to viral remedies and exams, Biden’s new plan would deal with long COVID and mental health by directing the federal authorities to speed up its efforts to detect, stop and deal with these points.

Zients referred to as the president’s plan “sturdy and complete,” however famous, “the execution of the plan requires further funding from Congress.”

Some 950,000 People have died from COVID-19, however Biden didn’t point out the pandemic once more till 36 minutes into his speech. He first addressed the Russian invasion of Ukraine, inflation, and the infrastructure legislation.

Later, Biden revealed a brand new “check to deal with” program during which individuals who check optimistic for coronavirus at a pharmacy might be supplied Pfizer’s antiviral Paxlovid without spending a dime, “on the spot.” The capsule reduces the prospect of hospitalization by 90%, the president stated. Pfizer will present the U.S. authorities with 1 million capsules in March and greater than 2 million in April.

What’s extra, beginning the week of March 7, a brand new batch of COVID-19 exams might be made obtainable for People to order for dwelling supply via COVIDtests.gov. The president additionally famous that he plans to ask Congress for extra money to maintain funding free vaccines, exams, masks, and coverings.

Final 12 months, the president didn’t give a conventional State of the Union, as an alternative making an deal with to a joint session of Congress virtually 100 days after he took workplace. The viewers was restricted on account of COVID-related social distancing restrictions.

For this 12 months’s deal with, attendees have been required to take a COVID-19 check earlier than coming into the Home of Representatives chambers. However given the brand new CDC steering issued Feb. 25 that relaxed masks guidelines, the 535 members of Congress, friends, and dignitaries who have been invited to this 12 months’s occasion weren’t required to put on masks.

However some Republicans refused to attend over the COVID testing requirement.

“I’m NOT permitted on the Home ground tonight even supposing the seventeenth District of Florida voted me to characterize them within the Folks’s Home as a result of I didn’t undergo all of Dictator Pelosi’s medical protocol and COVID testing,” Florida Rep. Greg Steube stated in a tweet.

In the meantime, “I’m sporting a masks tonight on the #SOTU as a result of all of us have to do not forget that the immunocompromised and people over 60 stay at increased threat of extreme sickness and hospitalization from COVID-19,” Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts stated on Twitter.

Divisions over COVID-related restrictions and COVID vaccines are additionally obvious in polling. Whereas 62% of adults in a Kaiser Household Basis poll stated they suppose the worst of the pandemic “is behind us,” extra Democrats and independents than Republicans stated that lifting restrictions may enhance the variety of deaths and depart immune-compromised individuals behind.

Biden indicated that he would proceed to raise extra restrictions, saying it’s “time for People to get again to work” and “our children must be at school.”

He additionally urged People to “cease taking a look at COVID-19 as a partisan dividing line and see it for what it’s: A God-awful illness.”

“Let’s cease seeing one another as enemies and begin seeing one another for who we actually are: fellow People,” the president stated.



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