President Biden delivers remarks on the nation’s fight against COVID-19
The White House released a “fact sheet” of accomplishments and future promises related to the coronavirus on Tuesday that contained inconsistent or misleading statements.
“The president will take several steps to ensure states and health systems across the country have the personnel, beds and supplies they need as they battle rising omicron hospitalizations, mostly among the unvaccinated,” the fact sheet said, outlining how the White House is deploying additional medical personnel, expanding hospital capacity and providing critical supplies.
Press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House Dec. 21, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
The critical supplies being provided include half a billion rapid tests that will be delivered to Americans for free. But the tests won’t be delivered until January, after the pre-Christmas omicron spike. And they are being announced two weeks after White House press secretary Jen Psaki scoffed at the idea of sending free tests to Americans who want them.
“Should we just send one to every American?” Psaki asked a reporter sarcastically. “Then what, then what happens if you, if every American has one test?” she continued in an exasperated tone. “How much does that cost, and then what happens after that?”
President Joe Biden meets with members of the COVID-19 Response Team at the White House on Dec. 16, 2021. (REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)
Biden was asked by a reporter during a Tuesday press conference whether it was a failure of his administration to not have more rapid tests available before now.
“No, it’s not a failure, but the alarms are going off,” Biden said. “I don’t think anyone anticipated how rapidly this is spreading.”
The fact sheet also celebrates that 73% of Americans are fully vaccinated, which the administration says is “up from less than 1% before the president took office,” without pointing out that only frontline medical workers were able to take the vaccine when he took office in January 2021.
The administration’s touting of the vaccine rate compared to when Biden took office has been criticized by conservatives.
“Less than 1% of Americans were fully vaccinated when Biden took office because the vaccine had only been approved for a month,” National Republican Senatorial Committee Rapid Response Director Jonathan Turcotte tweeted Tuesday. “Most Americans weren’t even eligible yet.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.
The Biden administration says it will mobilize 1,000 additional troops to deploy to hospitals burdened by the coronavirus and will also deploy federal medical personnel to states in need “immediately.”
Additionally, the administration announced new federal testing sites, the first of which will be stood up in New York City this week.
Registered nurse Carolyn Ruyle prepares a dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago on Nov. 5, 2021.
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
The omicron variant of the coronavirus now accounts for nearly three-quarters of all new infections in the U.S., according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Estimates for the week ending Dec. 18 indicate that omicron is behind 73.2% of total new cases, compared to 26.6% for the delta variant, the data show.
During the week before, only 12.6% of positive tests were a result of the omicron variant, as delta, at 87%, remained the most infectious variant in the U.S.
Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report
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