More medics to be deployed amid increased COVID hospitalisations: Biden

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US President Joe Biden

Rajeev Choudhury

US President Joe Biden has announced that an additional 120 doctors and other federal medical personnel will soon be deployed to hospitals that are struggling with staff shortages amid soaring COVID19 cases fuelled largely by the Omicron variant.

This will be above more than 800 federal personnel who have been helping hospitals since Thanksgiving, and the more than 14,000 National Guard members who have been assisting with vaccinations, testing and caring for patients with the support of the federal government, the president announced.

The announcement came during the President’s address to the nation regarding an update on the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government COVID19 surge response in Washington on January 13, 2022.

Under the deployment, starting next week over 1,000 medics and other frontline caregivers will begin arriving at hospitals especially in the six hard-hit states of Michigan, New Mexico, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Rhode Island, the President informed.

The shortage of healthcare workers in the country was an issue of concern and the COVID19 pandemic has exacerbated the condition to a crisis point, experts say.

As many as 20% of the healthcare workers –Doctors, Nurses and other healthcare staff– have left their jobs since the pandemic began, data from multiple sources suggest.

People in the know of things suggest multiple factors behind this crisis. Predominant among them are low wages and opportunities, burnouts and the pandemic.

The unvaccinated people are 17 times more liable to be hospitalised compared to the vaccinated people and they are crowding up the hospitals, leaving up fewer beds for people with accidents or heart attacks, the president said.

In his bid to increase testing, the President announced that he was directing his team to procure an additional 500 million COVID19 at-home, rapid test kits, which will mean one billion tests to be distributed for free.

This is above the 20,000 free walk-in testing sites that the government has already set up around the country, the President informed.


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