The White House on Wednesday unveiled a new, four-pronged strategy to move past the COVID-19 pandemic, as President Biden desperately tries to return some sense of normalcy to virus-fatigued Americans.
The 96-page National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan focuses on four primary goals: protecting against and treating the virus, prepping for new variants, preventing economic and educational shutdowns and expanding vaccination efforts worldwide.
“This plan lays out the roadmap to help us fight COVID-19 in the future as we move America from crisis to a time when COVID-19 does not disrupt our daily lives and is something we prevent, protect against and treat,” the plan’s executive summary reads.
“Make no mistake, President Biden will not accept just ‘living with COVID’ any more than we accept ‘living with’ cancer, Alzheimer’s or AIDS,” the plan continues. “Because of our work, we are no longer going to let COVID-19 dictate how we live.”
Some 215 million Americans are fully vaccinated and two-thirds of eligible US adults have gotten booster shots, according to the White House.
Biden’s administration intends to keep working to “stop the spread of the virus” while deploying new treatments to reduce severe illness, the White House said.
The new plan comes as a pair of polls released Tuesday showed most Americans weren’t happy with President Biden ahead of his first State of the Union address.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
“To fully execute on this plan requires Congress doing its part to invest in tools that work,” the executive summary continued, including additional funding for treatments like pills and monoclonal antibodies.
“Without these investments, many of the activities described below cannot be initiated or sustained,” the White House said.
The plan also calls for vaccine production to be ramped up to donate 1.2 billion free doses worldwide — the largest commitment of any country to date. That’s on top of the 475 million doses already donated to 112 countries across the world, four times more than any other nation.
Biden said Tuesday during his State of the Union address that the country was “moving forward safely” as he announced his administration was launching a “test-to-treat” initiative to provide free antiviral pills at pharmacies for those infected with the disease that’s killed more than 952,000 Americans as of Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Biden also said Tuesday that Americans would be allowed to get another round of free virus testing by the US government.
The new plan comes as a pair of polls released Tuesday showed most Americans weren’t happy with Biden ahead of his first State of the Union address, including a Gallup survey indicating 78 percent were dissatisfied.
A Washington Post-ABC poll also released Tuesday found that just 44 percent of Americans approve of Biden’s management of the pandemic, compared to 50 percent who disapprove.
That’s down from roughly 6 in 10 who said they approved of Biden’s pandemic management last summer, before the Delta variant began raging ahead of the Omicron strain, the newspaper noted Wednesday.
In recent weeks, COVID-19 cases have plummeted to their lowest level since last summer, although deaths still remain elevated, averaging nearly 1,700 in the US per day.
The 96-page plan focuses on four primary goals: protecting against and treating the virus, prepping for new variants, preventing economic and educational shutdowns and expanding vaccination efforts worldwide.The White House
A new poll found that just 44 percent of Americans approve of Biden’s management of the pandemic, compared to 50 percent who disapprove.EPA/JIM LO SCALZO
“America has made strong progress in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the plan, which calls on Congress to provide needed resources. “Because of our work over the last two years, we can begin to move forward safely.”
With Post wires