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Biden announces more free tests and more military doctors before omicron


Washington, Jan 13 (EFE) .- US President Joe Biden announced this Thursday that his government will make 500 million more free covid-19 tests available to Americans and that it will deploy new federal medical teams before the omicron expansion.

In a speech at the White House, Biden reported on these measures, when the US registers record numbers of cases and hospitalizations for omicron, which is already the prevalent variant of the coronavirus in the country.

The president explained that the 500 million tests are added to the other 500 million that his Executive had previously announced and that are in the process of being purchased to send them to the homes of Americans for free.

He explained that they are going to launch a web page next week, where citizens can request the tests for free so that they can be sent to their homes.

Biden recalled that when he arrived at the White House a year ago, 2 million covid tests were being carried out a day, and “none of those tests were homemade or rapid.”

“This month it is estimated that we will reach approximately 15 million tests a day, and we will have about 375 million home, rapid tests, in January. It is a huge jump, he pointed out,” he said.

In addition to the 1 billion covid-19 tests that the White House will make available to Americans for free, Biden this week ordered insurers to cover eight home covid-19 tests per month per person for free starting January 15. .

Another of the measures reported this Thursday was the deployment of more military medical personnel: a total of 6 new teams with a total of 120 members, to the states most affected by omicron -Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Rhode Island- to alleviate the shortage of health professionals in some hospitals.

These soldiers will be added to the 350 doctors, nurses and military health personnel deployed in 24 states and territories of the country, and that add up to some 800 workers if the personnel sent from other federal agencies are counted.

Biden added that 14,000 members of the National Guard – a body in the reserve – have been activated in 49 states to support these efforts.

In his speech, the president reiterated the calls for people to be vaccinated and wear a mask, since, according to the data he handles, a third of Americans say they never wear a mask.

Biden stressed that his government wants quality masks, referring to the KN95 or N95, to be widely available, at affordable prices and that they can be sold online or in stores.

And he announced that, since not all Americans can afford to buy a quality mask or cannot find it in some places, his Administration will announce measures next week to facilitate access to that garment for free.

The US is the country most affected by the pandemic with more than 63 million cases of covid-19 and more than 800,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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