US introduces new federal website to streamline Covid treatment

Johanna Chisholm
Thursday 31 March 2022 18:03
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Biden announces new federal Covid strategy

The White House launched a new federal website, covid.gov, which is part of the Biden administration’s larger strategy to shift gears into a phase of the pandemic they’ve come to liken as the “new normal”.

“This website is part of our effort – our continued and ongoing effort — to make sure that people have what they need to deal with Covid as we move into potentially the next phase of this disease,” the White House said on Wednesday, the New York Times reported.

The website’s launch arrives as the US is recording close to its lowest Covid hospitalisation rate throughout the last two years and overall case numbers are at the lowest they’ve been since July 2021.

The website, which the Biden administration sees as a key part of entering the next phase of the pandemic, will provide Americans, who continue to die each week from the deadly disease, with quick and free information about how they can treat themselves.

In President Biden’s State of the Union address, one of the core tenets focused on learning to “live with the virus”, including a section where he promised to create a “test-to-treat” program, which would enable people to get tested at a nearby pharmacy and then receive the necessary antiviral pills on the spot at no additional cost – if they test positive.

While this initiative, which includes access to antiviral treatments like Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Evusheld, has been available since 8 March, few Americans have tapped into it, the Times reported.

Covid.gov, the government hopes, will be the necessary lynchpin for drawing that void closed as it will act as a one-stop-shop for getting all the living-with-Covid info a person might want for.

Americans seeking treatment and prevention will, the White House hopes, be able to turn to the website to conveniently access all the information they need to make a successful transition to living with the virus. This includes: finding the locations of sites offerings vaccinations, tests and high-quality masks, a form for ordering eight free at-home tests per household, and get the latest information about recommendations from the CDC and travel.

The website is currently available in English, Spanish and Chinese, but for those who require additional language services, they can also access the same information through the national vaccine hotline which offers over 150 languages.

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