Biden's plan to fight omicron: 5 things to know

President Joe Biden will announce new initiatives Dec. 21 that his administration is rolling out as the omicron variant contributes to a surge in new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. 

Senior administration officials outlined the measures to reporters Dec. 21 ahead of the president's planned speech at the White House. President Biden is announcing the new steps as the omicron variant has overtaken delta as the dominant coronavirus variant in the U.S. As of Dec. 18, more than 73 percent of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. were caused by omicron, genomic surveillance data from the CDC shows. 

Five things to know: 

1. The Biden administration is preparing to distribute 500 million free at-home COVID-19 testing kits to Americans, according to The New York Times. The federal government plans to create a website where people can request the tests, which won't be available until January, according to the Times

2. The federal government will set up new COVID-19 testing sites. The first site will open in New York City this week, according to The Wall Street Journal. Several new sites will open across the U.S. before Dec. 25, according to the Times

3. The Biden administration will continue to invoke the Defense Protection Act to accelerate production of COVID-19 tests, according to the Journal

4. The president will announce Dec. 21 that he is directing 1,000 military medical professionals to support overburdened hospitals, according to NBC News. The military medical personnel will be sent to hospitals in January and February as needed, according to the Journal.

5. President Biden will direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assess hospitals' needs. If a hospital reaches capacity, FEMA will deploy medical teams and ambulances to transport patients to other facilities, according to  the Journal.

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