In his State of the Union address, President Joe Biden offered free antiviral pills to COVID-positive Americans. This new initiative means Americans can undergo COVID tests for free at a pharmacy. Those who test positive will receive free antiviral pills for their treatment.
Test To Treat Initiative Includes Free Antiviral Pills
During his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Biden announced new approaches in the fight against COVID-19.
This includes the launch of the “Test to Treat” program that aims to provide a one-stop-shop solution for COVID-stricken Americans.
People can stop by an accredited pharmacy to avail a free COVID test. If the test returns a positive result, the recipient will automatically receive antiviral pills. Biden emphasized that Americans can avail both the COVID test and the treatment “at no cost.”
The United States is leading all other countries in ordering antiviral COVID treatments. Pfizer will provide the US with one million pills in March and more than double the next month.
Taking an antiviral pill treatment like Pfizer reduces the chances of hospitalization from COVID by 90%.
White House Preparing National Preparedness Plan
In addition, the President announced that the administration recently completed a national preparedness plan for COVID. This will provide programs that allow the country to move forward safely.
The roadmap hopes to help Americans return to normal, pre-pandemic routines. Biden said that the White House will announce details of the program on Wednesday, March 2.
White House Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci will unveil the program. The program will provide more detail on the government’s approach to COVID as infections decline.
In addition, masking and social distancing guidelines are also being phased out in many states.
Earlier, Biden administration officials lifted requirements for full-vaccinated Americans to wear masks within the White House grounds.
Also, the federal government advised agencies to drop mask mandates for employees and visitors in federal buildings and elsewhere.
Prepare For New Variants
During his address, Biden noted America’s progress in combating coronavirus. He said that the country managed to bring down the number of severe COVID cases.
Today, “severe cases are down to a level not seen since July of last year,” he added. However, he cautioned Americans to prepare for the inevitable rise of new variants. “I cannot promise a new variant won’t come. But I can promise you we’ll do everything within our power to be ready if it does,” he said.
Among the federal government’s preparedness programs include an accelerated timetable for vaccine production.
According to Biden, the US can now deploy new vaccines within 100 days instead of months or years.
Also, the President insisted that living with the virus is not the government’s endgame. “I know some are talking about living with COVID-19. But tonight, I say that we never will just accept living with COVID-19,” he said. “We’ll continue to combat the virus, as we do other diseases.”
Watch the PBS NewsHour video reporting that President Joe Biden announces ‘test to treat’ initiative to put COVID-19 antiviral pills in pharmacies:
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