US cases soar to more than 1 million a day – inside Joe Biden’s Covid briefing

Joe Biden caught in snowstorm as he returns to Washington

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Towards the end of 2021, the US like many other countries around the world experienced unprecedented levels of Covid owing to the spread of the Omicron variant, which has become the dominant strain in many countries. On Monday, the US reported a new global record for daily cases, which in part prompted President Joe Biden to deliver an address to the American people.

Speaking on Tuesday, Joe Biden sought to reassure the US public that the federal government is prepared to tackle the nation’s growing Covid health crisis.

Addressing the country before a meeting with the White House Covid response team, Mr Biden urged Americans to get vaccinated and take up the offer of a booster jab.

In addition, he emphasised the need to wear masks in public to mitigate the spread of Covid.

He said: “We have the tools to protect people from severe illness due to Omicron – if people choose to use the tools.

“There’s a lot of reason to be hopeful in (2022), but for God’s sake, please take advantage of what’s available.’’

Mr Biden also revealed that he had directed the US government to buy an additional 10 million courses of Pfizer’s oral antiviral treatment, Paxlovid.

The new order now means that the US has committed to purchase at least 20 million courses from Pfizer.

However, the President did acknowledge that the complex chemistry involved in manufacturing the pills means it can take a significant amount of time from production to patients.

Omicron is now estimated to represent 95 percent of all Covid cases in the US – taking over from the previously dominant Delta variant.

A new global record was set by the US on Monday with regards to the number of Covid cases announced in a single day.

A total of 1.08 million people tested positive across the country, according to official data from John Hopkins University.

The volume of new cases has been followed by an increase in hospitalisations.

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Consequently, this has threatened to once again overwhelm the healthcare system which has already been struggling for the past month.

Many hospitals across the country have reported shortages of tests, treatments and staff.

Mr Biden has promised to make up for the shortfall in rapid at-home tests by sending 500 million of the kits to homes throughout the country.

However, it could take several months for the target to be achieved.

This means people are currently relying on laboratory test results in the most affected areas, with labs running at full capacity.

Current projections from test makers estimate that production of supplies won’t significantly increase until February or March.

To further complicate matters, the number of available Covid treatments in the US have also been constrained.

In fact, some hospitals have stopped giving out monoclonal antibody therapies or have been rationing them for only the most high-risk patients.

Early studies have shown this treatment to be among the most effective at working specifically against Omicron.

The federal government has deployed its own personnel in some areas to help ease the pressure that is building on hospitals.

To date, 62 percent of the US population is fully vaccinated against Covid.

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