Biden presses Congress for new covid funding, gets second booster shot

The new website – which consolidates efforts launched earlier in the pandemic, such as covidtests.gov and vaccines.gov – also includes information on local virus spread, guidance on travel rules and restrictions, and a new tool to help Americans locate places to receive immediate antiviral treatments if they have covid.

The president also appealed to Congress to move forward on securing funds for the nation’s covid response, warning of “the consequences of congressional inaction.”

“Just as we’ve reached the critical turning point in this fight, Congress has to provide the funding America needs to continue to fight covid-19,” Biden said.

The Biden administration has spent weeks calling on lawmakers to pass at least $ 22 billion in new covid funding, warning that US officials are being forced to delay or cancel orders for vaccines, antivirals and other resources. But Senate Republicans have balked at setting aside new funding, after many House Democrats said they could not support a plan to repurpose funds that had already been pledged to states.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) have been negotiating a compromise funding package that could be announced this week, administration and congressional aides have said.

The president’s speech came as US covid infections and hospitalizations have plunged from the records set in January, driven by the fast-moving omicron variant, but with public health experts bracing for a potential rebound fueled by BA. 2, an omicron subvariant that has already spurred a surge of cases in Europe and is responsible for more than half of new cases in the United States, according to federal data. But polls have shown that many Americans increasingly believe covid is a fading priority, with only one-third of voters in a Pew Research survey this month saying that the virus is a key issue that will affect their votes in this year’s midterm election.

Uptake of booster shots has also lagged behind White House goals, even after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that Americans get a first booster to bolster their protections, citing evidence that immunity that begins to wane months after receiving a prior shot or being infected . About one-third of Americans over the age of 65 and more than half of all adults have yet to receive their first booster shot, according to federal data.

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