Biden Releases Plan to Fight Omicron Variant Ahead of Holidays

President Joe Biden announced new measures today in an effort to fight the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus.

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President Joe Biden announced new measures today in an effort to fight the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus.

So far, two cases of Omicron have been detected in the United States, one in California and one in New York. But experts believe it is likely that far more people have been exposed to this variant.

The Omicron variant is worrying scientists due to dozens of mutations that could potentially make it more virulent and infectious. Experts are still trying to figure out whether the variant could cause a major surge of new infections.

Speaking at the National Institutes of Health, Biden announced multiple new measures including bolstering access to free testing and more required testing of travelers.

Highlights of the plan include:

  • International travelers will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test from within 1 day of departure, regardless of vaccination status.
  • The U.S. government will expand its COVID-19 vaccine booster shot program. You can text your ZIP code to 438829 or go to Vaccines.gov and find places providing free vaccines.
  • The government will work to supply more medications to treat COVID-19 so that hospitalized people will have easier access to treatments.
  • A new “test to stay” program for children will be enacted, so kids can stay in school if they have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • There will be an increase of COVID-19 surge response teams that can deploy to communities with rising COVID-19 cases.
  • Insurance will cover at-home tests, so people can be reimbursed for those purchases.
  • The Biden administration also said it will push to send more vaccines abroad to help stamp out the pandemic.

This story originally appeared on: Healthline.com - Author:Gillian Mohney