The White House will deploy 1,000 military medical personnel to support hospitals facing a surge of patients infected with COVID this winter, and will purchase 500 million at-home tests that Americans can order online for free with delivery beginning in January, according to senior administration officials.
President Joe Biden will announce the plan in a speech later Tuesday addressing how the administration is preparing for the highly contagious omicron variant of Covid-19. Biden warned last week that the unvaccinated face a winter of “severe illness and death,” calling on them to get immunized and to receive a booster shot to protect their health.
Hospitals from the Great Lakes to the Northeast are already struggling after getting hit by a wave of patients infected with the delta variant in November and December. Public health officials now fear the omicron strain will overwhelm health-care providers with another surge of patients.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday reported that omicron is rapidly spreading and is now the dominant variant representing 73% of sequenced U.S. cases, while the delta strain makes up 26.6% of infections. Just a week earlier, delta represented 87% of cases.