President Biden on Monday said he will unveil his plan Thursday to tackle the new omicron variant of COVID-19, saying the strategy will not include more lockdowns. Instead, Biden plans to rely on vaccinations to combat the latest version of the virus to pose a serious threat.
Speaking during a meeting with CEOs of various companies to discuss the holiday shopping season and his administration’s work to address the supply chain crisis, Biden also said that Americans who are eligible for a booster shot have “no excuse” for not getting one.
“On Thursday, I’m going to be putting forward a detailed strategy for how to deal with this new variant,” said Biden. “And that is not shutdowns or lockdowns, but more widespread vaccination, more boosters, testing, and more.”
Biden’s determination to avoid shutdowns is an echo of former President Trump’s strategy, often criticized by Democrats, of resisting closing businesses during the pandemic.
“In the meantime, I’ve said the best protection against this new variant is to get fully vaccinated and get a booster shot,” Biden continued. “And I urge all Americans who haven’t yet done that, get it done today. There’s no excuse. There are over 80,000 places you can get it done. I mean, there’s just there’s no reason. It’s free, it’s available, and if you qualify for the booster, get it done today.”
Biden’s remarks reiterated comments he made earlier Monday during a press conference at the White House with Dr. Anthony Fauci about the omicron variant, which the World Health Organization designated a “variant of concern,” its most serious designation for a COVID-19 variant.
The president stressed that all individuals, whether vaccinated or not, should be wearing masks and face coverings in public settings again.
When pressed on why he was taking shutdowns off the table, the president said: “If people are vaccinated and wearing their masks, there is no need for the lockdowns.”
Biden also maintained the importance of sharing vaccination supply around the globe, saying that he will “always make sure our people are protected first” while noting that both the delta and omicron variants of COVID-19 emerged “elsewhere in the world.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.