US President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with the Supply Chain Interruption Working Group and the CEO of the Private Sector in the South Auditorium of the White House in Washington, DC on December 22, 2021.
Brendan Smyalowski | AFP | Getty Images
President Joe Biden pledged on Monday to support the governor who is fighting the omicron variant of Covid-19, but acknowledged that states need to take the lead in controlling the pandemic.
Before meeting with some U.S. governors, Biden said: “There is no federal solution. This is resolved at the state level.”
These comments represent one of the clearest acknowledgments of the Biden administration so far that it needs the help of state and local governments in its efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Variations of omicron pose a multifaceted threat to Biden, who is running for the federal government’s ability to contain the pandemic.
The president on Monday reiterated some of the promises he made last week, including the federal government’s purchase of 500 million rapid coronavirus tests.
“My message to governors is simple: if you need anything, just say something,” he said. “We will do our best to support you.”
The government plans to distribute tests to Americans free of charge, support more vaccinations and testing sites, and deploy 1,000 military medical professionals to increase hospital staff across the country.
However, the mutation and transmission capacity of this virus occasionally lead to positive cases among vaccinated people, which makes the government’s commitment to slow the disease more difficult. Both the virus and the vaccine have become a political football. Many Americans, especially those who support former President Donald Trump, refuse to be vaccinated.
Due to differences in national attitudes towards the virus and public safety priorities, the governors’ response to the Biden administration’s efforts has been mixed.
The Governor of Texas and Republican Greg Abbott issued an executive order in October prohibiting any entity, including private companies, from imposing Covid-19 vaccination requirements on employees or customers . Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, considered to be the Republican presidential candidate in 2024, has departed from federal public health guidance in recent months and has reduced the requirements for masks and vaccines.
The Biden administration has been stressing for weeks that Americans should take extra care during the 2021 holiday to protect their families from the spread of disease.
The President’s remarks came as Covid-19 cases surged over the Christmas holiday weekend.
In the past week, this highly contagious variant of omicron caused a few states, including New Jersey and New York, to report more coronavirus cases than any other 7-day period.
Although early signs indicate that the variant may cause milder symptoms, health experts urged strict public safety protocols and stated that the rapid spread of the variant could put pressure on the U.S. hospital system and cause more deaths.
American infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week” program on Sunday: “It’s rising every day. The average last week was about 150,000, and it could be even higher.”
On Wednesday, before disrupting the Covid tracker over the holiday weekend, the national average daily number of new cases exceeded 176,000 for seven days, an increase of 44% over the past 14 days. During this period, the death toll has also increased, from 1,103 to a 7-day average of 1,213.
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