Biden Outlines ‘Winter Plan’ Against Omicron

December 22, 2021 Topic: Omicron Region: Americas Blog Brand: Coronavirus Tags: OmicronCoronavirusPandemicWinter PlanJoe Biden

Biden Outlines ‘Winter Plan’ Against Omicron

More than two hundred million Americans have been fully vaccinated with two shots and an additional sixty million have received a third “booster” shot.


The arrival of the Omicron coronavirus variant in the United States has prompted President Joe Biden to announce a set of precautions to help prevent the spread of the variant. Biden outlined in a speech on Tuesday afternoon the broad strokes of his “winter plan,” including new vaccination sites, an increase in at-home testing, and federal support for hospitals with large coronavirus caseloads.  

The president also pushed Americans who had not yet received the coronavirus vaccine to do so immediately, warning that the Omicron variant was more infectious than the original virus had been and that vaccination, though imperfect, significantly reduced an individual’s chance of severe illness from the disease. 

“If you’re not fully vaccinated, you have good reason to be concerned,” Biden cautioned. 

“You’re at a high risk of getting sick, and if you get sick, you’re likely to spread it to others, including friends and family.” 

Biden also promised that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would be deployed to install additional hospital beds in areas with high coronavirus rates, including New York, in order to provide care for increasing caseloads.  

The World Health Organization (WHO), which pledged to spend several weeks investigating the properties of the Omicron variant after its discovery in South Africa in November, has concluded that “consistent evidence” showed its spread has been “significantly faster” than the Delta variant, which had previously been the most concerning mutation of the disease. It also concluded that Omicron was more dangerous to people who had already been vaccinated than other variants, although vaccinated individuals were far more likely to evade serious health outcomes. 

After reaching a peak in South Africa, the virus has spread around the world and has become the dominant strain in the United States, with 73 percent of new cases from Omicron, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

More than two hundred million Americans have been fully vaccinated with two shots and an additional sixty million have received a third “booster” shot, according to the CDC. 

However, Biden noted in his remarks that tens of millions remain fully unvaccinated. In addition to urging them to receive readily available vaccines, he promised that his administration would purchase five hundred million coronavirus at-home tests and mail them to Americans for free, hopefully providing a measure of protection for remaining unvaccinated families. 

The president pressed eligible Americans to receive a booster shot. He reminded them that they would be eligible six months after they received their second regular shot. 

Trevor Filseth is a current and foreign affairs writer for the National Interest. 

Image: Reuters