President Joe Biden addressed to the country on Thursday about his strategy to combat the Omicron coronavirus subtype this winter. Notably proposal of lockdowns and immunization restrictions are absent.
Instead, he highlighted a number of steps aimed at preventing viral propagation and instances of severe illness, which could possibly overload hospital systems throughout the country. Booster program has been expanded. The Biden administration is working hard to increase awareness and availability to COVID-19 booster doses. “The first thing is to expand the national booster campaign with more awareness, appointments, hours, venues, and opportunities to walk in,” Biden said.
According to Robert Glatter, MD, an emergency physician at New York’s Lennox Hill Hospital, a booster dosage might considerably improve protection against the new Omicron form, but study is still underway. “The inclusion of the third dose of an mRNA vaccine considerably increases levels of neutralizing antibodies to tackle the danger of Omicron’s probable immunological escape or evasion,” he said.
Increased vaccination access
Biden’s proposal also includes the establishment of new family vaccination clinics to make it simpler for whole families to get vaccinated in one location, as well as the implementation of a new policy known as “test to stay” to keep children at school rather than quarantining them at home. When someone tests positive in class and it isn’t them, pupils will be able to stay in class and be tested periodically rather than being sent home.
“The CDC is looking into this, and once we get their recommendations, we’ll know what the appropriate course of action is,” said Nikhil Bhayani, MD, an infectious disease specialist with Texas Health Resources. “Certainly, following an exposure, regular testing and masking would be preferable than quarantining as long as more children above the age of five get the vaccination,” he added.
Expanded access to at-home COVID-19 tests
The Biden proposal would also require private insurance to cover the cost of at-home testing, so patients will not have to pay for the over-the-counter COVID-19 tests out of pocket. “If you’re one of the 150 million Americans who have private medical insurance, beginning next month, your plan will include at-home testing,” Biden added.
People who do not have private insurance will be covered under the plan, according to Biden. “Now, for those who don’t have private insurance, we’re going to make free testing accessible at thousands of handy sites – areas where people can pick them up and take a test kit home,” he stated.
Surge response teams
The government will also boost the number of surge response teams. Surge response teams supply essential personnel for hospital staff overruns when there are more patients than available employees to care for them. “They assist give vital medicines in underserved places, such as monoclonal antibody therapy,” Biden said. According to Biden, there are already 20 such teams, with that number expected to climb to 60 by the winter.
New medicines and drugs will be made more readily available
Biden said that they would try to expand the availability of critical drugs for COVID-19 treatment, such as monoclonal antibodies. “Monoclonal antibody therapies have been demonstrated to lower the likelihood of hospitalization by up to 70% and —for unvaccinated patients at risk of acquiring serious illness,” he added. More than 3 million courses of these medications have already been provided, according to the president.
He also mentioned new antiviral drugs, such as Merck’s molnupiravir, which was recently licensed by the FDA for use in avoiding hospitalizations and deaths. “And, like with the vaccination distribution, we will guarantee that these drugs are accessible to the most afflicted populations in America as well,” he stated.
Worldwide vaccination to defeat COVID-19
Another technique that the government will use to combat the epidemic is “vaccinating the earth.” COVID-19 and its Delta variant developed outside of the United States, according to Biden, and “we need to go where it originated [from]” to end the epidemic. “We’ll expedite the delivery of extra vaccines to developing countries, promising to give 200 million doses — extra doses within next 100 days — on our way to providing more than 1,200,000,000 doses to the rest of the world,” Biden stated.
Glatter stated that vaccination the whole planet might help limit the likelihood of new strains emerging, such as Omicron. He went on to say that the United States “must” concentrate on vaccinating low-income and under-resourced African and Southeast Asian nations. “As a country, we must make this commitment, and it must be a shared aim among all countries.” At this moment, there have been almost 5 million fatalities worldwide. “How many more fatalities can we put up with till 2022?” Glatter explained.
Travelers will be subjected to more-stricter testing standards.
A crucial component of the new strategy is tighter testing requirements for overseas visitors coming in the United States. Previously, incoming tourists to the United States had to test negative for COVID-19 within three days of their arrival. According to the Biden proposal, both vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers, regardless of country, must test negative within one day of departure. “As scientists continue to explore the Omicron type, this tighter testing timeframe gives an extra level of security,” Biden said.
President Biden revealed his winter strategy to combat the epidemic, assuring Americans that it would not include lockdowns or commercial closures, but will instead keep schools open. Instead, the president’s approach would depend on tougher testing and increased access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, as well as considerable increases in vaccine exports abroad. Vaccination, according to experts, is critical for both illness prevention and the emergence of new, possibly hazardous variations like Omicron in the future.