January 25, 2022

Joe Biden organizes federal response to Omicron wave, amid widespread weariness

Mobilize, reassure and warn, despite the ambient weariness: with the approach of Christmas, Joe Biden again addressed the Americans about the Covid-19, Tuesday, December 21. Faced with the surge of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, the White House is trying to promote vaccination among a powerful minority of skeptics and to recommend the wearing of the mask. The rising wave compromises any idea of ​​a return to normality, as outlined by the use of a third dose. Joe Biden himself was tested on Monday – negative result – after coming into contact with an advisor aboard Air Force One on Friday, who tested positive after this weekend, despite having already received the booster.

“I know that you are tired, that you are frustrated, a dit Joe Biden. We all want this to end. “ The president insisted on the differences with March 2020, the start of the pandemic, dismissing the idea of ​​an endless cycle. We are “Highly protected” if we are vaccinated and “High risk” if we are not, he stressed. “It’s the only responsible thing to do”, especially to relieve hospitals. According to official estimates, the Omicron variant already represents 73.2% of the cases recorded between December 12 and 18, against 26.6% for the Delta. The number of people hospitalized increased by 14% during this period, to 69,000.

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Record demand for tests

The rise of this powerful wave coincides with the holiday season, resulting in a record demand for tests, long overlooked by authorities. Joe Biden has defended himself from any delay on this point. He announced that nearly 500 million free kits would be sent to the population, on simple online request, and that new test centers would be set up. In the meantime, the millions of Americans traveling for the holidays are at risk of turning into vectors of the Omicron variant. Experts therefore expect a gloomy start to 2022.

The White House seemed taken aback by the scale of the demand for tests and the lightning speed of contamination of the new variant. Many experts believed it would not become a majority until January. Just two weeks ago, the White House spokeswoman ironically responded to a question about the availability of tests. “Should we just send some to every American?” asked Jen Psaki. And what happens after every American has a test? How much does it cost, and what happens next? “ The urgency erased these considerations.

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