WASHINGTON — More free COVID tests, new ways to get COVID medication and a plan to rethink how the federal government responds to future outbreaks are all part of President Biden's strategy to combat COVID.
The President outlined many parts of it during his State of the Union address.
On Thursday, his COVID response team announced even more measures they hope to implement going forward.
STATE OF THE UNION
There was a lot in the State of the Union Tuesday, but one of the biggest developments may have had nothing to do with what President Biden said and everything to do with how things looked.
People were shaking hands, few wore masks, hugs occurred after the speech.
A crowded political gathering a sign of how far we have come in the pandemic
"I can't promise a new variant won't come, but I can, I can promise you we'll do everything within our power to be ready if it does," President Biden told the crowd.
NEW BIDEN PLAN
Just because the world is feeling more normal doesn't mean the pandemic is over.
The president announced new efforts to make sure the country doesn’t have to impose strict public health rules again.
Among the changes, households can once again go to Covidtests.gov next week and order four more free tests.
The biggest change however may be what is being called a new "Test to Treat" program by the Biden administration.
It will soon allow Americans to not only get tested at their local pharmacy but receive free antiviral medication right away.
One million of these medications are expected to be available this month.
The President’s top health advisers telling reporters Thursday when these locations will be up and running
"Hundreds of one-stop shops will open across the country this month," Jeff Zients said.
CONGRESSIONAL HELP NEEDED
A major cornerstone of President Biden's plans going forward involves Congress with the President looking for billions in new funding in the coming weeks.
What would the money be used for?
The Biden administration wants more vaccines distributed around the world and for testing to remain free and available for Americans and school districts.
New resources would also improve how the CDC and other public health agencies handle new variants when they emerge.
"Funding from Congress will be critical to these efforts," Zients said.
Additionally, the EPA will soon provide a checklist to businesses so that their workplaces can become equipped with recommended air filtration systems with the goal of preventing future outbreaks.
But can President Biden actually pass what he promised at the State of the Union?
When it comes to COVID, the politics can change quickly but there is bipartisan effort to pass a new round of funding soon.
Question to remain about controversial government policies, however, like mandatory masks on planes.
That mandate expires on March 18 and is currently being evaluated by the White House.