Washington Bureau: Biden Administration Pivots In Strategy To Combat COVID-19

Monday, January 17th 2022, 8:08 pm


The Biden administration this week will take additional steps to combat the spread and impact of COVID-19, including the launch of a website where Americans can order free at-home test kits.

The steps also include deployment of more than a hundred more federal emergency medical personnel to ease the strain on overburdened hospitals.

The new website, COVIDtests.gov, is supposed to be up and running on January 19.

The website will enable users to order up to four free COVID-19 test kits per household.

The kits are part of the 500 million tests President Biden announced his administration was purchasing last month.

Last week, he said another 500 million had been ordered and would also be made available for free nationwide.

The website roll-out comes days after the president's COVID-19 response strategy was dealt a significant blow by the Supreme Court, which rejected his controversial vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees.

"We all understand there's a health crisis going on and the pandemic is ongoing," said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) in an interview last week, "but the executive branch can't go grab power that they don't have."

The executive branch is pivoting to a power that it does have, the power to deploy the military for emergency response.

"When you need something done, call in the military," said Biden.

The administration is using the military to relieve some of the stress on healthcare workers across the country.

Biden said about 800 military and federal emergency personnel have already been dispatched to some of the hardest-hit states and territories.

This week six more teams comprised of more than 120 military medical workers will report to hospitals in Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, and New Mexico.

"Military doctors, nurses and medics helping staff the hospitals that are in short supply," said President Biden, "This is on top of the more than 14,000 National Guard members that have been activated in 49 states."

The president also said the White House will be announcing a new plan this week to distribute "high quality" masks to Americans for free.