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: Biden to announce ‘new steps’ in fight against COVID as omicron variant spreads

President Joe Biden on Tuesday plans to roll out additional moves that the federal government will make in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a White House statement.

“The President will deliver remarks on the status of the country’s fight against COVID-19, as the country sees rising cases amid the growing Omicron variant,” said the statement, which was released late Sunday.

“Building off his Winter Plan, the President will announce new steps the Administration is taking to help communities in need of assistance, while also issuing a stark warning of what the winter will look like for Americans who choose to remain unvaccinated.”

Biden put forth his plan for fighting COVID-19 during the winter on Dec. 2, with measures such as an expansion for at-home testing in the U.S., tighter COVID testing timelines for travelers entering the country and a new campaign to encourage vaccinated people to get booster shot. He cautioned last week that unvaccinated people are facing a “winter of severe illness and death.”

The U.S. is averaging about 1,300 COVID deaths a day, and cases and hospitalizations are rising again, notably in the Northeast. Connecticut and Maine are seeing high rates of growth in new cases, while New York is being hit by the highly transmissible omicron variant. 

U.S. stocks DJIA, -1.84% SPX, -1.68% were trading sharply lower on Monday, as investors faced two pieces of bad news: Omicron worries and related lockdowns in parts of Europe weighed on investors, while Goldman Sachs cut its U.S. growth forecast after the failure of Biden’s big social-spending bill.

“The president will have to do more than urge vaccines; he may have to provide more aid,” said Greg Valliere, chief U.S. policy strategist at AGF Investments, in a note. The social-spending bill “will now take a back seat to urgent talks on what to do about this latest COVID crisis,” Valliere added.

The White House statement didn’t give a time for Biden’s speech on Tuesday.

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