Falling case rates and hospitalizations along with new treatments means the endemic phase of COVID-19 has arrived.
President Joe Biden on Tuesday unveiled a plan for transitioning into the next phase during his State of the Union address. There are four main strategies:
- Continuing the push for protection through vaccination
- Preparing for new variants
- Prevent shutdowns
- A "test to treat" initiative
That last strategy ramps up testing at local pharmacies and clinics so people who test positive can get immediate treatment using new antiviral medications.
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There is a ramp-up in production of those drugs as well. The goal is to make prevention easy and at little or no cost.
"The president's plan, with support from Congress, ensures other important tools, like tests and high quality masks, are widely available, accessible, and free," said Jeff Zients, White House coronavirus response coordinator.
Americans already received one batch of tests free and can now request more through the federal government.