“You should still remain vigilant.” U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday rolled out a series of new measures to battle the Omicron variant, as millions of Americans prepare to gather with loved ones.
“And I know some Americans are wondering if you can safely celebrate the holidays with your family and friends. The answer is yes, you can - if you and those you celebrate with are vaccinated, particularly if you've gotten your booster shot.”
But he struck a dire tone when speaking to the one-in-four American adults who are not fully vaccinated, calling it their “patriotic duty” to get their shots.
“Your choice is not just a choice about you, it affects other people. You’re putting other people at risk. Your loved ones. Your friends, neighbors, strangers you run into. And your choice can be the difference between life or death.”
To bolster the fight against Omicron, Biden announced the opening of more federal vaccination and testing sites and said some 500 million at-home rapid tests will be available to Americans for free starting in January.
He also said that some 1,000 military medical doctors, nurses and medics have been deployed to support hospitals already being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients in some areas.
Biden added that Omicron is so contagious that it will infect vaccinated Americans but that they will be far less likely to become seriously ill.
He even noted that former President Trump had gotten a booster shot, "Maybe one of the few things he and I agree on…" and called out social media companies and TV networks for "peddling lies and allowing misinformation that can kill their own customers."
“It’s wrong. It’s immoral.” According to a Reuters tally, new COVID-19 cases are up 72 percent since the start of December.