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President Joe Biden will present a progress report on Tuesday on fighting the coronavirus pandemic as the new and highly contagious variant of Omicron spreads across the country.
In anticipation of an increase in cases this winter, the government is expected to focus on increasing support for hospitals, expanding access to free Covid tests, and increasing vaccine delivery capacity.
Biden’s speech comes a day after the White House announced that the president was in close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. Biden tested negative on Monday, three days after spending about 30 minutes near the employee during a flight on Air Force One, the White House said.
The nameless person, described as a “middle-tier employee,” tested negative before the flight, but a subsequent test on Monday morning was positive, said spokesman Jen Psaki. Biden also received a negative antigen test on Sunday. He will be tested again on Wednesday, she said.
The White House is preparing to have more employees test positive in the coming days as the Omicron variant takes over the nation. The strain, discovered just a few weeks earlier, now accounts for almost three quarters of all new infections in the United States
Biden, speaking in the White House state dining room, is set to reassure fully vaccinated and recharged Americans that they will be protected from the threat of serious illness from the new wave of infections.
However, the unvaccinated have a high risk of disease and are many times more likely to be hospitalized or killed from Covid, Biden is likely to warn.
With around 40 million eligible Americans remaining unvaccinated, the Biden administration expects the number of cases to rise.
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