Biden deploys military medical teams to hospitals in six states

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US President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the federal government will send military medical teams to six states — New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Michigan, and New Mexico—to assist hospitals swamped by COVID-19.

The deployments were disclosed by Biden while describing new efforts the administration is making to combat an outbreak of diseases caused by the omicron variety. 

The 120-person deployments come as hospitals struggle with staffing shortages as nurses and other medical employees become ill with omicron as a result of an increase in patients afflicted with the highly contagious form.

Since Thanksgiving, the US has deployed around 800 military and emergency workers, according to Biden.

According to the president, more than 14,000 National Guard members have been activated in 49 states to assist with the response to COVID.

According to Biden, the United States has also more than tripled its national supply of high-quality N95 masks. 

Watch | US hospitalisation witness an increase by 33% and deaths by 40%

Pledges more tests, masks and federal medical help

The Biden administration intends to purchase 500 million more Covid tests, is working to make free masks more readily available, and will send extra federal medical teams to hospitals in six states to deal with crippling staffing shortages caused by an increase in hospitalizations.

The additional tests will be needed to meet future demand, according to President Joe Biden, and come on top of the 500 million fast at-home tests that the US is in the process of collecting to mail to Americans for free.

He said a website to obtain one of the free at-home tests would go live next week. 

(With inputs from agencies)