WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden on Thursday will outline new approaches to control the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, which rages on despite the wide availability of vaccines.
In a speech, Biden will focus on six areas, including new plans to get more people vaccinated, enhancing protection for those who already have had shots and keeping schools open, according to a White House official.
The speech would also cover increasing testing and mask-wearing, protecting an economic recovery from the pandemic-induced recession and improving healthcare for people infected with the disease, the official said.
“We know that increasing vaccinations will stop the spread of the pandemic, will get the pandemic under control, will return people to normal life,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday. “We have more work to do, and we are still at war with the virus.”
Increasing infections have raised concerns as children head back to school, while also rattling investors and upending company return-to-office plans.
Just over 53% of Americans are fully vaccinated, including almost two-thirds of the adult population, according to CDC data. The disease has killed more than 649,000 Americans.
With many Americans still skeptical of the shots, the White House has already announced plans to give those who are fully vaccinated booster shots for more additional protection.
In doing so, they have rejected arguments from the World Health Organization and other advocates that rich countries should hold off on booster shots before more people worldwide have been inoculated.
Biden is set to deliver the speech at 5 p.m. (2100 GMT) from the White House State Dining Room, according to his public schedule.
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