During his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Joe Biden addressed a growing question among the American people: What’s next for the COVID-19 pandemic?
What happened: Biden, speaking before a joint session of Congress, opened up about the future of the pandemic. He said cases have continued to dwindle across the country and that any new upticks in cases will be met with new treatments and testing tools.
- Biden announced the new “Test to Treat” initiative, which will allow people to get a COVID-19 test at a pharmacy and then receive antiviral pills at no cost.
- He also announced that people can order more COVID-19 tests at the covidtests.gov website.
New variants: Biden also addressed the chance of new COVID-19 variants hitting the United States.
- “I cannot promise a new variant won’t come. But I can promise you we’ll do everything within our power to be ready if it does,” he said.
What’s next: Biden said the country should prepare for new variants. The country will “deploy new vaccines within 100 days instead of many more months or years” if new variants come.
Yes, but: Experts recently told The Guardian that it’s difficult to plan on a new COVID-19 variant and that it will truly emerge from the shadows.
- “There will be more variants after omicron and if they are more transmissible they will dominate. In addition, they may cause different patterns of illness, in other words they may turn out to be more lethal or have more long-term consequences,” David Nabarro, a special envoy on COVID-19 for the World Health Organization, told The Guardian.