Biden warns non-vaccinated people and announces reinforcement measures to deal with ‘microns’

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US President Joe Biden

by Steve Holland and Jarrett Renshaw

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced the opening of more federal vaccination and testing sites to address the surge in Covid-19 cases caused by the microscopic variant, and said 500 million rapid tests for Americans will be available free of cost. starting from January.

Biden has warned unvaccinated people he has “good reason to worry” and assured that those who have been vaccinated can gather for the holidays despite new strains spreading across the country.

“No, it’s not March 2020,” Biden told reporters at the White House. “Two hundred million people have been fully vaccinated, we are ready, we know more”.

Taking a tough tone about the risks to the one in four US adults who have not been fully vaccinated, Biden said that those who have not yet been vaccinated “end up in the hospital or even here.” There’s a significantly higher risk of even dying.”

The measures announced on Tuesday include the activation of nearly 1,000 military doctors to support hospitals that are already overcrowded with Covid patients in some areas.

Biden’s response against COVID-19 has been criticized for focusing vaccines on testing and masks, and for underestimating the impact of the politically motivated anti-vaccination movement in the United States.

The new federal measures won’t fully take effect on Saturday before Christmas, leaving many citizens struggling to find tests available ahead of festive gatherings and travel – and confused about whether to go ahead with their plans. is safe.

According to the World Health Organisation, the micron variant, which was first identified last month, is doubling infections in 1.5 to 3 days. It remains to be seen whether it causes more serious diseases than the delta variant.

According to the latest US figures, Micron now accounts for 73% of all new cases, down from less than 1% at the start of the month.

The rapid rise in infections is once again disrupting life across the country, forcing the cancellation of events ranging from Broadway shows to professional sports. On Monday, the National Hockey League and the players’ union agreed to postpone all matches until after Christmas.

There were long lines for COVID-19 tests in New York, Washington and other US cities as people look to see if they are infected ahead of the holidays.

“If not, I could have carried (the virus) to my family,” Ronald Tievs said as he stood trial in Washington’s Farragut Square on Tuesday.

The implementation of the rapid tests complements Biden’s plan announced earlier this month, which requires health insurers to provide test kits at no cost to individuals with coverage, is set to begin in January.

The government will open several federal testing centers starting in New York City before Christmas, Biden said.

More federal vaccination and testing sites will open across the country in high-need areas and if requested by state and local officials.

(Additional reporting by Maria Caspani and Lisa Shumaker)

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About the author: Sarah Gracie

Sarahis a reporter covering Amazon. She previously covered tech and transportation, and she broke stories on Uber's finances, self-driving car program, and cultural crisis. Before that, she covered cybersecurity in finance. Sarah's work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Politico, and the Houston Chronicle.

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