President Joe Biden has gone from putting out a supposed “plan to beat COVID” to now telling American governors “there is no federal solution.” Those were the words used on Monday during a COVID-19 Response Team call with the National Governor’s Association.
“Look, there is no federal solution,” Biden said. “This gets solved at a state level. It ultimately gets down to where the rubber meets the road, and that’s where the patient is in need of help or preventing the need for help.”
Biden called Omicron a “source of concern,” but said it “should not be a source of panic.”
“If you’re fully vaccinated and you get your booster shot, you’re highly protected,” he said. “If you’re unvaccinated, you’re at a high risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19, being hospitalized and, in rare cases, even dying.”
Biden noted last week the federal government took steps to “bolster support” for states with more capacity to get shots in arms. He said more testing is happening as well.
“Seeing how tough it was for some folks to get a test this weekend shows that we have more work to do,” Biden said. “And we’re doing it.”
Biden said the amount of tests available are “clearly not enough.”
“If I had — we had known, we would have gone harder, quicker if we could have,” he said. “We’re going to continue to use the Defense Production Act to produce as many tests as possible.”
In two weeks, Biden said private insurance will reimburse individuals for the cost of at-home tests.
Biden claimed there has not been a sharp rise in hospitalizations due to so many people getting vaccinated and boosted.
“America has made progress,” he said. “But we do know that with a rise in cases, we still have tens of millions of unvaccinated people and we’re seeing hospitalizations rise. It means our hospitals in some places are going to get overrun, but in terms of equipment — both in terms of equipment and staff.”
Biden is mobilizing an additional 1,000 military doctors and nurses and medics to help staff hospitals. FEMA is deploying hundreds of ambulances and EMS crews.
“The bottom line is: We want to assure the American people that we’re prepared,” Biden said. “We know what it takes. And as a — as this group of bipartisan governors has shown, we’re going to get through it by working together.”