On Tuesday afternoon, President Biden addressed the press regarding his plan for responding to the increased COVID-19 numbers, particularly the Omicron strain that has been reported in 46 of the 50 states. The Omicron variant has been named responsible for the death of one American, a native of Texas. The sole United States death due to Omicron was a male in his 50s with underlying health conditions, according to Fox News.
Surprisingly, Biden actually praised former President Donald Trump during his remarks. Biden remarked that more than 60 million Americans had been fully vaccinated and had taken their booster shots. He also mentioned that President Trump had taken his booster shot as well. He also gave credit to the previous administration for “getting the vaccine to Americans.”
Biden told the American public that we citizens should be concerned about the Omicron variant, but “not panicked.”
On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced that the Biden Administration was looking into providing at least 500 million at-home testing kits for Americans. She told the press corps on Monday that Americans would be able to access a website and request the kit, which would be delivered to American homes for free. This is likely due to criticism that many Americans are waiting in long lines across major cities in order to have rapid testing done. On Sunday, Fox News aired video footage of dozens of New Yorkers waiting in line for a COVID-19 test.
Unfortunately, those at-home testing kits won’t be available to the public until at least January.
President Biden did scold the unvaccinated. He said, “Look, the unvaccinated are responsible for their own choices, but those choices have been fueled by dangerous misinformation on cable TV and social media.” He alluded to TV personalities “making money” by “peddling lies.” He also added the admonition, “Stop it. Stop it now.”
The CDC just announced that the Omicron strain is now the dominant strain in the United States.
Many cities across the United States have put a pause on annual events or professional sporting events. The National Hockey League has paused their season as there have been outbreaks within the league. The Rockettes have cancelled their annual Christmas show on Broadway. Rumors abound that the annual New Year’s Eve festivities in New York’s Times Square may be cancelled as well. New York’s incoming mayor, Eric Adams, has put a pause on his January 1 swearing in ceremony.
New York and California have both brought back their mask mandates in indoor settings, and these mandates are slated to last at least one month, until January 15.
Schools in various areas across the United States have announced they’ll return to remote learning.
Biden concluded his speech by telling the American public, “I know you’re tired . . .I know you’re frustrated, we all want this to be over, but we’re still in it.” He finished by saying, “This is a critical moment.”