President Biden Pressures Congress for Emergency Covid Funds

President Biden Pressures Congress for Emergency Covid Funds

The federal government said recently that a fund established to reimburse doctors and hospitals was no longer accepting those claims for virus testing and treatment “due to lack of sufficient funds.”

Updated 

March 30, 2022, 6:22 p.m. ET

While new coronavirus case have been falling in the United States, a highly transmissible Omicron subvariant known as BA.2 has driven a surge in cases in Europe, and many experts expect that the United States may soon see the same. Should that occur, it will be the first major test of the country’s new strategy of living with the virus while limiting its impact.

Around the country, state and local governments have relaxed restrictions like mask and vaccine mandates. White House and federal health officials have been making the case for weeks that Americans now have the tools — testing infrastructure, masks and other mitigation strategies, and drugs and vaccines — to live with the threat of the virus.

In his State of the Union address, Mr. Biden announced a new “test-to-treat” initiative — a network of pharmacies and other sites where people can be tested for the coronavirus and then receive antiviral drugs if they test positive. More than 2,000 sites are participating, the White House said. The covid.gov website features a tool to help people find participating locations.

Under a banner saying “Find Covid-19 guidance for your community,” the website asks users to enter the name of the county in which they live. It then identifies whether the risk of Covid-19 in that county is low, medium or high, depending on factors including the number of hospitalizations and available hospital beds.

The site also links to other government websites, including vaccines.gov and covidtests.gov, that help users access vaccines and find nearby testing sites.

At a House hearing on Wednesday, Dawn O’Connell, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response, said that over 900 million of the billion at-home rapid tests President Biden had promised to offer Americans for free had been secured, and that over 250 million “high quality” masks, including the N95 style, had been shipped across the country.

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