Biden to send additional medical teams to six states to help with COVID-19 surge

Alex Brandon

President Biden announced Thursday that his administration will deploy additional federal medical teams to six states to help hospitals deal with heightened demand amid the surge of the omicron coronavirus variant in the U.S.

A White House spokesman said that the teams will be sent to New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Michigan and New Mexico. The new deployments were first reported by USA Today.

Biden later deliver remarks on his administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic at the White House Thursday morning alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell, during which he announced the plans. 

“I have directed FEMA to work with every state, territory and the District of Columbia to make sure they have enough hospital bed capacity,” Biden said. “Today, I am announcing our next deployment of six additional federal medical teams, a total of more than 120 military medical personnel, to six hard-hit states.”

More than 800 federal emergency personnel have already been deployed to 24 states, tribes and territories since the Thanksgiving holiday to assist local personnel, according to the White House, and over 14,000 National Guard members have been activated in nearly every state.

Biden noted Thursday that the deployments are “fully paid for” by the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law passed last March. 

In Arizona, for example, the administration dispatched 20 FEMA paramedics and 40 other federal medical personnel around Christmas to provide support to hospitals in the state.

After delivering public remarks on Thursday, Biden met with federal support teams already positioned in Arizona, New York and Michigan “to hear about the impact our servicemembers are having on the COVID-19 response.”

Data has shown the omicron variant to be more mild but more contagious, and it has spread rapidly throughout the U.S.

On Tuesday, the U.S. set a new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations, reporting that over 145,000 people were hospitalized with the virus.

The hospitalizations are in large part fueled by those who are not vaccinated against COVID-19. Those who are vaccinated against COVID-19 and particularly those who have received booster doses are well protected from severe illness, hospitalization and death from the virus.

Updated at 12:22 p.m. 

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Department of Defense DOD Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA Joe Biden Lloyd Austin Omicron variant Pandemic

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