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Biden Announces 500 Million More Tests Will be Purchased for Americans

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Michael D. ShearWASHINGTON
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The New York Times
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ShearWASHINGTON — President Biden on Thursday stepped up his administration’s response to a coronavirus surge driven by the Omicron variant, sending what he said is urgently needed help to overwhelmed hospitals and pledging to provide Americans with free tests and masks as the country enters the pandemic’s third year.Mr. Biden said he was directing his staff to purchase an additional 500 million tests for distribution to Americans, doubling the government’s previous purchase as his administration scrambles to respond to the highly contagious Omicron.In addition, the president said he is sending a total of 120 military medical personnel to six states where hospitals have been overrun by cases. But he said the at-home tests — along with more than 20,000 testing sites around the country — will help to meet the surging demand as people try to continue work, school and social life despite the rapid spread of the virus.“We’re on track to roll out a website next week where you can order free test shipped to your home,” he said, adding that people with medical insurance can also soon get reimbursed for the purchase of up to eight tests a month.Mr. Biden did not provide any details about what he said would be a plan to ensure that Americans have access to high-quality masks. Mr. Biden said late last month that he would be tapping the military to help hospitals early in January.The new teams of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel would begin arriving at hospitals in Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island, the president said, in order to help triage patients arriving at hospitals, allowing short-staffed emergency departments to free up space.Each of those states has suffered an astronomical rise in known cases, already exceeding the previous nationwide peak per capita reached last winter, according to a New York Times database.

As said here by Michael D. Shear