Joe Biden announced plans for a wider distribution of at-home Covid tests and higher quality masks, as much of the country grapples with a dramatic increase in cases due to the Omicron variant.
But he also concluded his remarks to call on media to curb the spread of misinformation about the pandemic.
“I make a special appeal to social media companies and media outlets: Please deal with the misinformation and disinformation that is on your shows. It has to stop. Covid 19 is one of the most formidable enemies America has ever faced. We have got to work together, not against each other.”
Although Biden did not name any media outlet or personalities, there has been ample attention this week to the spread of misleading medical information, or outright falsehoods.
On Wednesday, hundreds of doctors and scientists signed an open letter calling on Spotify to “establish a clear and public policy to moderate misinformation on its platform.” The group singled out The Joe Rogan Experience, one of its most popular podcasts.
Meanwhile, Biden outlined a series of additional steps the administration is taking, as the spread of the Omicron variant fills hospital capacity.
The president said that he was ordering up an additional 500 at-home million tests, adding to the 500 million already announced. Next week, he said that a website will be unveiled where anyone can order free masks.
Biden also announced six additional military medical teams to deploy to hard hit states, including Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Rhode Island. In his speech, he left out New Mexico, but the White House identified that as the sixth state.
“It’s been a long road,” Biden said. “But what’s clear is we can get through this if everybody does their part. No matter where you live. No matter what your political party. We have got to fight this together.”
“Unfortunately, while our military is stepping up as they always do, there are others sitting on the sidelines, and worse, standing in the way,” Biden added, as he called on the unvaccinated to get their shots.
“Personal choice affects us all — our hospitals, our country,” he said.
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