Biden Sends Military Medical Teams To NY Amid COVID Surge

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  • Joe Biden
    Joe Biden
    46th and current president of the United States

NEW YORK CITY — Military medical teams will be deployed to New York to help health care facilities overwhelmed by a surge in hospitalizations from the omicron coronavirus variant, President Joe Biden said.

The federal deployments to six states, including New York, are part of a spate of new actions Biden unveiled Thursday to fight against a renewed wave of COVID-19 infections.

Biden said the government soon will provide free high-quality masks to Americans, as well as 500 million additional rapid at-home tests.

“I know we’re all frustrated as we enter this new year,” he said. “The omicron variant is causing millions of cases and record hospitalizations.”

Hospitalizations nationwide rose sharply as the highly contagious omicron variant spread. New York City saw daily hospitalizations rise to an average of 917 a day shortly after the New Year, according to data.

Those appear to have fallen slightly in recent days, but officials still worry hospitals can be overwhelmed.

Biden cast the issue as a problem stemming from Americans who are unvaccinated. He noted COVID-19 vaccines and boosters provide protection against severe illness.

Unvaccinated people are 17 times more likely to be hospitalized, he said.

“As a result, they’re crowding our hospitals, leaving little room for anyone else who might have a heart attack or an injury and an automobile accident or any injury at all,” he said.

Federal officials deemed six states — New York, New Jersey, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio and Rhode Island — in need of additional help in the form of military medical teams. Biden said the teams will consist of 120 personnel total.

"Unfortunately, while our military is stepping up as they always do, there are others sitting on the sidelines and, worse, standing in the way," he said. "If you haven't gotten vaccinated, do it. Personal choice impact us all — our hospitals, our country."

Patch reached out to the White House for further information on what hospitals will receive teams, but officials had yet to respond by publication.

This article originally appeared on the New York City Patch

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