Biden's new measures to fight Omicron

The measures announced on Tuesday include activating some 1,000 military medical personnel to support hospitals already being overwhelmed by COVID patients in some areas.

Biden's COVID-19 response has been criticized for focusing on vaccines at the detriment of testing and masking, and for underestimating the impact of the politically motivated anti-vaccine movement in the United States.

The new federal measures will not be fully in place ahead of Christmas on Saturday, leaving many Americans scrambling to find available tests ahead of holiday gatherings and travel - and confused about whether it is safe to press ahead with their plans.

The Omicron variant, first detected last month, is causing infections to double in 1.5 to 3 days, according to the World Health Organization. It is not yet known whether it causes more serious illness than the Delta variant.

Omicron now accounts for 73% of all new cases, according to the latest U.S. data.

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