According to Fox News, President Joe Biden met online with several Republican governors on Monday, Dec. 27, to discuss ongoing efforts to battle the rising number of COVID-19 cases caused by the new omicron strain.
During the conference with several of the nation’s governors, Biden stated, “There is no federal solution. This gets solved at a state level.”
Those remarks are one of the vital admissions to date from the Biden administration that it will require assistance from local and state governments in combating Covid-19.
The president may be concerned that without the support of the states, government efforts to limit the virus may fail. The remarks could also be an attempt to increase pressure on governors to take a more active role in battling the disease.
The comments come as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have attempted to issue sweeping federal orders to mitigate the pandemic, including requirements of employer’s demand for treatment.
According to Fox, the Supreme Court may soon hear an appeal of OSHA’s rule requiring private enterprises with more than 100 employees to be vaccinated or tested regularly.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, head of the National Governors Association, requested Biden to attend the conference on Monday, “not let federal solutions stand in the way of state solutions” and “Look, there is no federal solution,” the president agreed when the time came for him to speak. “This gets solved at a state-level … and it ultimately gets down to where the rubber meets the road and that’s where the patient is in need of help, or preventing the need for help.”
The administration intends to provide free tests to all Americans, support more immunization and testing locations, and send 1,000 military medical personnel to hospitals across the country.
The Biden administration has been urging Americans to take additional precautions during the 2021 holiday season to safeguard their families from the disease’s spread for weeks.
The president’s comments came as the number of instances of Covid-19 rose over the Christmas holiday weekend.
Over the last week, the highly infectious omicron variant has caused more coronavirus cases to be reported in various states, including New Jersey and New York, than any other seven-day period throughout the epidemic.
While early indications suggest the variant may cause milder symptoms, health experts advise rigorous public safety precautions, warning that the variant’s rapid spread could strain the US medical system and result in more deaths.
During a virtual meeting with state governors, Biden said “We went from no over-the-counter tests in January to 46 million in October, 100 million in November and almost 200 million in December. That’s not enough. It’s clearly not enough. If I — we’d known, we would have gone harder, quicker if we could have.”
According to Biden, the omicron variant is a “source of concern,” but not “a source of panic.”