WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Saying a new plan is needed because COVID cases are rising and the omicron variant is spreading, President Joe Biden outlined a way to help the country fight the ongoing pandemic through the winter months.
Biden said medical experts expect the number of COVID cases to keep rising through the winter and is urging all American adults to get a booster shot for added protection.
The president also implemented new travel rules to combat the newly discovered omicron.
“All inbound international travelers must test within one day of departure, regardless of their vaccination status or nationality,” he said.
The US is pledging to deliver 200 million more vaccines to other countries in need of them in the next 100 days, Biden said.
The mask requirement for domestic travelers on planes, trains, buses and all public transit was also extended into March 2022.
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said the CDC is studying a plan that would allow students to test frequently to stay in the classroom after exposure to COVID-19, instead of being forced to miss school and disrupting parents’ work schedules.
“The CDC is just looking at the data around this to make sure they know the details of the frequency of testing that makes sense,” Murthy said. “They want to make sure that the data is clear, that this is a safe strategy.”
The Biden Administration is also expanding efforts to get more vaccines in the arms of unvaccinated adults and children older than 5 by opening clinics where families can get their shots together.
A plan is also in the works to increase access to testing by having private health insurance cover the cost of in-home testing.
“We will be sending 50 million rapid antigen tests to community centers around the country so people can also access those tests freely,” Murthy said.
Biden hopes the country unites behind his plan “to fight this virus, to protect one another, to protect our economic recovery. And to think of it in terms of a patriotic responsibility.”