Biden says lockdown not part of US’s winter Covid plan

Mr Biden says lockdowns are off the table because they are unnecessary due to the availability of vaccines and masks as a Covid countermeasure

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Monday 29 November 2021 18:20
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President Joe Biden said that lockdowns and shutdowns are off the table in a forthcoming strategy for how the US will deal with any winter wave of Covid-19.

Speaking about the threat posed by the newly-discovered Sars-CoV-2 omicron variant on Monday from the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Mr Biden said his administration will be releasing a “detailed strategy” on how the US will fight the spread of Covid this winter, when cases are expected to climb as outdoor activities cease in the northern part of the country due to cold weather.

The virus will be fought “not with shutdowns, not with lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing, and more,” Mr Biden said. He added that the vaccines and boosters would remain “free of charge” to Americans.

The president said families can celebrate the holidays this winter more easily if they are fully vaccinated, and contrasted the freedom and peace of mined provided by the availability of vaccines with the state of play a year ago, when Americans were advised to avoid gathering indoors in groups.

“Given where we were last year, that's a blessing that none of us should take for granted. We're throwing everything we can at this virus, tracking it from every angle, and that's what we have to keep doing,” he said. “We've moved forward in the face of Covid-19. We have moved forward in the face of the Delta variant and we move forward now in the face of the omicron variant as well”.

As he took questions from reporters following his remarks, Mr Biden was asked why lockdowns and shutdowns were not on the menu of options his administration is considering for dealing with a potential winter Covid wave.

He replied: “If people are vaccinated and they’re masked, there’s no need for lockdowns”.

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