United States President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force and private sector CEOs in the South Auditorium of the White House in Washington, DC on December 22, 2021.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images
president Joe Biden on Monday pledged to support governors struggling with the Omicron variant of Covid-19, but admitted that states must take the lead in controlling the pandemic.
Shortly before a meeting with some of the country’s governors, Biden said: “There is no federal solution. This will be resolved at the state level. “
These comments constitute one of the Biden’s government’s most prominent admissions to date that it is in its efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The president may be concerned that federal initiatives to contain the virus cannot be effective without the help of states. The comments could also be an attempt to put additional pressure on governors to play a bigger role in fighting the disease.
The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for clarification.
After his remarks, Biden asked whether he supported revised recommendations for reduced quarantine times.
“I rely on my medical team. I get a recommendation, I follow it,” he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently launched theirs Recommendations for people who may have been exposed to the virus. Instead of the recommended standard 14-day quarantine, the CDC says suspected exposures should result in a 10 or seven day quarantine based on test results and symptoms.
The Omicron variant poses a multi-faceted threat to Biden, who advocates the federal government’s ability to contain the pandemic. The president on Monday reiterated some of the promises he made last week, including the federal government’s purchase of 500 million rapid coronavirus tests.
“My message to the governors is simple: if you need something, say something,” he said. “We’ll keep your back free as best we can.”
The government plans to distribute the tests to Americans for free, support more vaccination and testing centers, and deploy 1,000 military medics to increase hospital staff nationwide.
But the virus’ ability to mutate, spread, and occasionally result in positive cases in those who received a vaccine has made the government’s promise to slow the disease down difficult. The virus and vaccine have both blossomed into political football. Many Americans, especially those who support former President Donald Trump, refuse to get vaccinated.
Given the nationwide differences in attitudes towards the virus and public safety priorities, governors’ responses to the Biden government’s efforts have been mixed.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, an implementing regulation in. enact October prohibits all entities, including private companies, from from the imposition of Covid-19 vaccination obligations on employees or customers. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is considered a Republican presidential candidate in 2024, has been breaking away from federal public health guidelines and restricting mask and vaccine mandates in recent months.
The Biden government has been stressing for weeks that Americans should be extra careful during the 2021 holiday season to protect their families from the spread of the disease.
The president’s remarks came as Covid-19 cases spiked over the Christmas holiday weekend.
The highly contagious variant of Omicron has reported more coronavirus cases in a handful of states, including New Jersey and New York, in the past week than any other seven-day period during the pandemic.
While initial signs suggest the variant could cause milder symptoms, health experts are calling for strict public safety protocols, saying that the variant’s rapid spread could put strain on the US hospital system and lead to more deaths.
“Every day it goes up and up. The last weekly average was around 150,000 and it will likely go much higher,” said US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said “This Week” on the ABC show on Sunday.
On Wednesday, before the holiday weekend disrupted Covid trackers, the seven-day national average of new daily cases topped 176,000, a 44% increase over the past 14 days. The number of deaths also rose during this period from 1,103 to a seven-day average of 1,213.
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