Biden To Send 1,000 Additional Military Health Workers To Six States As Omicron Cases Surge
A US Army veteran with Covid-19 is treated by a medical worker in a negative pressure room in the Covdi-19 ward at the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare system campus and medical center in West Roxbury, Massachusetts on January 11, 2022.

An additional 1,000 military health workers are being deployed to six states to assist hospitals impacted by the growing number of Omicron variant cases, according to the White House on Thursday.

Reuters reported the teams of seven to 25 military health workers will arrive in Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, and Rhode Island next week to assist existing staff dealing with high numbers of COVID-19 patients.

“U.S. COVID-19 hospitalizations reached a record high this week after steadily increasing since late December, according to a Reuters tally, while Omicron overtook Delta as the dominant variant,” the report said.

The added military assistance will be in addition to military medical personnel already serving in six states. More deployments may be added in the future.

“These are just part of the first wave of deployments,” the White House official said of the latest mobilizations, according to CNN. “Teams will continue to be mobilized and deployed where they are needed over the coming weeks to confront Omicron.”

“These teams will be providing relief, triaging patients, helping to decompress overwhelmed emergency departments, and freeing up health care providers to continue other lifesaving care. They will be working alongside health care workers on the front lines to give them the support they need,” a White House official said on Monday night, according to the report.

The seven-day average of Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 reached 133,871 on Wednesday. New cases soared to more than 770,000 for a single day in the seven-day average.

Despite the growing case number, the Omicron variant has a 91% lower chance of causing death than the Delta variant of COVID-19, according to a new study. The Daily Wire reported on Wednesday regarding the most recent research:

The study, which was conducted by Kaiser Permanente Southern California but has not yet been peer-reviewed, also showed that people with Omicron infections are 74% less likely to need to be placed in the intensive care unit (ICU). And the study found a 53% reduction in risk of being hospitalized, said Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The duration of hospital stays was approximately 70% shorter, with the median of stays being 1.5 days for Omicron, compared to about five days for Delta,” Walensky said on Wednesday. “Looking at all hospital admissions for Omicron, 90% of patients were expected to be discharged from the hospital in three days or less.”

But Walensky said we’re not out of the woods yet. “While we are seeing early evidence that Omicron is less severe than Delta, and that those infected are less likely to require hospitalization, it’s important to note that Omicron continues to be much more transmissible than Delta,” she said.

Biden addressed the military deployments as part of his update on his administration’s “whole-of-government COVID-19 surge response” on Thursday.

The address also contained plans for “making high-quality masks available to the American people for free.”

In another post related to the update, Biden again addressed the need for at-home COVID-19 tests.

“I am directing my team to procure 500 million more COVID-19 at-home, rapid tests,” he said. “That will mean one billion tests to be distributed for free.”

The military publication Stripes reported that “more than 800 military personnel who have been helping civilian hospitals since Thanksgiving and the more than 14,000 National Guard members whose work supporting vaccinations, testing and caring for patients is being covered by the federal government.”

Biden’s federal efforts are in addition to state-level calls for National Guard members to serve in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul announced an effort in December to involve National Guard members alongside EMT workers in her state.

“As we fight this surge, we are deploying every resource available to meet the needs of our health care system, and this expedited training partnership will help ensure our most vulnerable patients get the care they need,” Hochul said.

“The Department of Health and our New York National Guard have been working side-by-side to fight this pandemic since Day 1, and I am proud to see this innovative plan between the two agencies come to fruition. When times get tough, New Yorkers put their heads together and find solutions” she added.

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