WASHINGTON — President Biden plans to announce on Thursday the deployment of 1,000 military medical personnel to six states to help hospitals deal with a surge in cases from the Omicron variant, White House officials said.
Deanne Criswell, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Lloyd J. Austin III, defense secretary, will also be present at the White House. They will discuss the teams headed to hard-hit communities across America. Late last month, Mr. Biden indicated that he would tap the military early in January to help hospitals.
Officials announced that the new teams would arrive at hospitals in New Jersey and New Mexico. They stated that the teams would assist in triaging patients arriving at hospitals and free up space for short-staffed emergency departments.
The deployments are part of the Biden administration’s efforts to tackle the latest surge of cases caused by the highly contagious Omicron variant. New cases have increased as well, reaching more 780,000 per day across the country. The number of Americans who have been hospitalized with Covid-19 is at an all-time high of around 142,000.
Mr. Biden is also expected to make additional announcements on Thursday about the administration’s efforts to handle the pandemic.
As he enters his second consecutive year in office, Mr. Biden’s inability control the pandemic has contributed to his low approval ratings. His aides will make public their efforts to combat the virus.
Omicron was first discovered in South Africa at Thanksgiving. Since then, over 800 military and emergency personnel have been sent by the administration to 24 states and tribes. Officials don’t include the personnel that Mr. Biden is expected to announce on Thursday.
Officials said that more than 14,000 National Guard members were activated in 49 states to assist hospitals with testing, vaccinations and other medical services. The American Rescue Plan, which Mr. Biden championed during his term, paid for these deployments.
Officials stated that more military medical personnel would likely be deployed as the country continues to battle the pandemic.
Source: NY Times