In light of the Omicron variant rapid surge, the White House announced it will purchase a half-billion at-home, rapid tests this winter to be distributed for free to Americans who want them, with the initial delivery starting in January 2022.
The administration will set up a website where Americans can go to get at-home tests delivered to their home — for free, according to a White House statement.
In addition, the White House said it would install new federal testing sites around the country, helping states that need additional testing capacity. The first will be in New York City this week.
President Joe Biden will announce later today new actions to protect Americans and help communities and hospitals battle Omicron, “building on the robust plan he announced earlier this month to get people maximum protection ahead of the winter and prepare for rising cases driven by the new variant,” according to the statement.
The actions include increased support for hospitals, by mobilizing an additional 1,000 troops to deploy to COVID-burdened hospitals and deploying federal medical personnel available to states immediately.
“The President is announcing that six emergency response teams — with more than 100 clinical personnel and paramedics — are deploying to six states now: Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona, New Hampshire and Vermont. This is on top of the 300 federal medical personnel that we have deployed since we learned about Omicron,” according to the statement.
Additional actions include providing ongoing support to states to help hospitals create and license more beds, pre-positioning critical supplies from the strategic national stockpile and deploying ventilators to states.
Omicron is now the dominant variant in the U.S., with 73% according to data published Dec. 20 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.