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White House to unveil blueprint for the next Covid phase

The White House is planning to unveil its wide-ranging strategy for the next phase of the pandemic response on Wednesday morning, according to an internal document obtained by WEBICNEWS.

The Covid-19 strategy is expected to lay out how the nation can safely ease public health restrictions and restore some sense of normalcy as the U.S. enters what officials hope will be a less disruptive endemic stage of the virus.

Biden officials have consulted for weeks with a range of outside advisers, governors and business executives to compile the sweeping plan, which comes as the Omicron surge wanes and cases plummet across the country.

While the White House remains reluctant to declare the pandemic over, the strategy is likely to make a case for scaling back public health measures, people familiar with the matter said — pointing to the growing availability of vaccines and treatments capable of better protecting Americans from the virus.

The strategy is also expected to lay out how the administration plans to prepare for and react to potential future surges, leaving the door open for the need to reimpose certain protections if another dangerous variant hits the U.S.

The White House declined to comment.

The strategy — which is slated to be released a day after President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union address — could also help alleviate the pressure Democratic governors and lawmakers have put on the administration to provide a clear path out of the Covid crisis.

During his speech Tuesday, Biden is expected to deliver his most optimistic remarks on the state of the pandemic since before the Delta and Omicron surges, the people familiar with the matter said, while still vowing to remain vigilant against future outbreaks.

But he is also slated to emphasize that the success of this next phase will hinge in part on Congress providing sufficient funding for the administration’s response, according to the document. The administration is seeking tens of billions of dollars to fund the purchase of additional vaccines, treatments and tests, and ramp up longer-term preparedness efforts.

Several Democratic governors have dropped mask mandates and issued their own plans for Covid’s endemic phase in recent weeks. And on Friday, the Centers for Disease Control overhauled its Covid risk metrics, saying most Americans can now choose to go maskless in indoor public settings.


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