KANSAS CITY, Mo. — President Joe Biden plans to increase support for hospitals, improve access to COVID-19 tests and expand the availability of vaccines that can reduce the risks from the omicron variant.
The government will purchase 500 million rapid at-home tests to be delivered for free to Americans who request them.
According to NBC News, the federal government also plans to set up 20,000 new testing sites nationwide, with the first one opening in New York City before Christmas.
In addition, NBC News reports Biden will announce that he is directing 1,000 members of the military to help hospitals shore up their staffing and he's deploying the Federal Emergency Management Agency to set up overflow operations for hospitals that are at capacity.
Biden will stress in a Tuesday speech the importance of getting vaccinated to protect from a wave of infections tied to omicron as Christmas approaches.
The world is confronting the prospect of a second straight holiday season with COVID-19.
Biden's top medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says the president will issue “a stark warning of what the winter will look like” for unvaccinated Americans.