Biden Unveils ‘Test to Treat’ for COVID in State of the Union

March 2, 2022 — In his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Joe Biden urged Americans to stay vigilant about COVID-19 and pledged to provide more tests and treatments. On Wednesday, his team unveiled plans to get started.

New National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, which officials say will require congressional action, aims to keep businesses and schools open, improve access to testing and treatment, and prevent future public health crises.

“By protecting and treating covid, preparing for any new options, preventing economic and school closures, and vaccinating the world and saving lives, the President’s COVID-19 preparedness plan will allow us to safely move forward to return to our more normal business. “White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said at a briefing on Wednesday.

Zients elaborated on the “test for a cure” initiative the President mentioned in his State of the Union address Tuesday, which would expand access to antiviral pills and other treatments for COVID-19.

Hundreds of one-stop shops across the country will open this month to allow people to receive treatment for COVID-19 immediately after testing positive, Zients said. Locations will include local pharmacy clinics, community health centers, long-term care facilities, and veterans’ medical facilities.

The White House said Congressional leaders have already been briefed on the need for short-term funding to secure more vaccines, antiviral drugs, and continue vaccine research. The required amount was not disclosed.

Leading infectious disease expert Anthony S. Fauci, MD said the plan’s emphasis on vaccine research and development will help ensure that any “renewed vaccines can be developed, approved and manufactured in about 100 days.” Along with expanding access to viral treatments and tests, Biden’s new plan will address protracted COVID and mental health, directing the federal government to step up its efforts to detect, prevent and treat these issues.

Zients called the President’s plan “robust and comprehensive” but noted that “implementation of the plan requires additional funding from Congress.”

About 950,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, but Biden did not mention the pandemic again until the 36th minute of his speech. He first turned to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, inflation, and infrastructure law.

Later, Biden introduced a new “test-to-treat” program that would offer Pfizer’s antiviral Paxlovid free of charge “on the spot” to people who test positive for coronavirus at a pharmacy. According to the President, pills reduce the likelihood of hospitalization by 90%. Pfizer will provide the US government with 1 million tablets in March and more than 2 million in April.

What’s more, starting the week of March 7, a new batch of COVID-19 tests will be available to Americans and can be ordered for home delivery through The President also noted that he plans to ask Congress for more money to continue funding free vaccines, tests, masks, and treatments.

Last year, the President did not deliver the traditional State of the Union address but instead addressed a joint session of Congress nearly 100 days after taking office. The audience has been limited due to social distancing restrictions related to COVID.

This year, participants were required to take a COVID-19 test before entering the House of Representatives. But given new CDC guidance released February 25 that loosens mask-wearing rules, the 535 members of Congress, guests, and dignitaries invited to this year’s event are not required to wear masks.

But some Republicans refused to attend because of the COVID testing requirement.

“I’m NOT allowed to be on the floor of the House of Representatives tonight, despite Florida’s 17th district voting to represent them in the House of the People because I failed all of Dictator Pelosi’s medical protocol and COVID tests,” — said a member of the House of Representatives of Florida. Greg Steube announced this on his Twitter.

Meanwhile, “Tonight at #SOTU, I put on a mask because we all need to remember that immunocompromised people and people over 60 are still at higher risk of severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19,” said Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts. on Twitter.

Disagreements are also evident in the polls over COVID-related restrictions and COVID vaccines. While 62% of adults in the Kaiser Family Foundation survey said, they believe the worst of the pandemic is “behind us,” more Democrats and independents than Republicans said lifting restrictions could increase deaths and leave immunocompromised people behind.

Biden indicated that he would continue to lift restrictions, saying “it’s time for Americans to get back to work” and “our kids need to go to school.”

He also urged Americans to “stop looking at COVID-19 as a party dividing line and see what it is: a terrible disease.” Let’s stop seeing each other as enemies and start seeing each other for who we really are: brother Americans,” the President said.

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