Biden ‘concerned’ COVID is ‘not slowing worldwide,’ but ‘confident’ in US efforts

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President Biden on Tuesday said he is “concerned” about the COVID-19 pandemic because it is “not slowing” around the globe, but said he is “confident” that his administration is “on the right track.” 

Leaving the White House to travel to Atlanta to deliver remarks to urge the Senate to pass federal voting rights legislation, Biden was asked about the COVID-19 pandemic, as cases of the highly transmissible omicron variant surge across the nation. 

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“I’m concerned about the pandemic because it’s not slowing worldwide,” Biden told reporters on the White House lawn. “Thank God we’ve been able to generate federal help, administering all the help.” 

He added: “That’s what we’re doing now. I am confident we are on the right track.” 

President Biden talks to reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Washington. 

President Biden talks to reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Washington.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The White House on Monday announced that private health insurers would be required to pay for up to eight COVID-19 tests per person, per month, beginning Jan. 15 amid the testing shortage.

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The White House also said Americans can expect to be able to order free tests purchased by the government later this month, after the Biden administration announced it would purchase 500 million tests and make them available to the public. 

The president also announced that insurance companies will begin reimbursing individuals for at-home rapid tests purchased after Jan. 15. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House chief medical adviser and director of the NIAID, gives an opening statement during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine the federal response to COVID-19 and new emerging variants on Jan. 11, 2022 at Capitol Hill in Washington.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House chief medical adviser and director of the NIAID, gives an opening statement during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine the federal response to COVID-19 and new emerging variants on Jan. 11, 2022 at Capitol Hill in Washington. (GREG NASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The testing announcements came after Biden last week admitted the shortage across the nation was “frustrating.” 

The president, also last week, said his administration was continuing to set up federal testing sites across the nation in an effort to reduce lines and make more appointments for tests available. 

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION TO DOUBLE PURCHASE OF PFIZER’S COVID ANTIVIRAL PILL TO 20M TREATMENT COURSES

The Biden administration has also doubled its purchase of Pfizer’s antiviral COVID-19 pill from 10 million to 20 million treatment courses and plans to accelerate the delivery of those treatments. 

The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s Paxlovid-nirmatrelvir tablets and ritonavir tablets last month – the first oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19.

The Biden administration in November had announced a commitment to securing 10 million treatment courses of Pfizer’s Paxlovid oral antiviral drug, contingent on the FDA’s emergency use authorization. The administration paid $5.295 billion for the first 10 million courses. 

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The drug has been developed to treat nonhospitalized, symptomatic adults diagnosed with COVID-19 who are at increased risk of progressing to severe illness that could lead to hospitalization or death.

Meanwhile, health officials are again urging individuals to wear masks in public to protect against the omicron variant – which is infecting individuals whether they are vaccinated, boosted or not.  

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