The Biden Administration Alleviates Some Worry Surrounding Omicron


Graphic by Megan Bilecki

Daniel Morrison, Staff Writer

   The Omicron variant continues to disrupt the lives of Americans across the country. With infection rates remaining high and hospitals nearing full capacity, signs of slowing are nebulous. 

   Here at home, some students have battled with a shortage of at-home testing kits and long lines at public testing sites. However, some much needed relief and reassurance will soon be felt by all in the upcoming weeks. 

   The Biden administration plans to distribute 400 million free N95 masks to retail pharmacies and health centers around the country. Unlike the traditional disposable face masks, N95 masks offer the highest level of protection against Covid-19. They are limited to three per person, however more than one person in the same household can receive them. (CBS)

   Additionally, the Biden administration purchased one billion at-home rapid tests, half of which are available for order online for free. Four Covid tests are able to be acquired per household, and once ordered, take 7-12 days to be mailed. See for more information. (The White House)

   Sophomore Valeria Mesa considers this to be an essential step to slow the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant. “More people will take the necessary precautions sooner if positive tests are found sooner,” she says. “Lives can be saved,” she continues. “Especially those who are at high risk like the elderly and immunocompromised people.” Other Jags think differently about Biden’s decision.

   Though important to him, Dylan Escandell does not believe the administration’s distribution of masks is as effective as intended. “Some Americans still aren’t obligated to wear their masks,” the sophomore starts. In Florida, this is especially true. Junior Jake Taylor agrees. “It’s a good thing that the government is sending them out, but that money could be spent in other more important sectors,” he says. 

   Nevertheless, both students feel the distribution of at-home Covid tests proves to be a better idea. “The Covid tests are an idea worth pushing for. They can give people and families a better sense of security if they feel they may have [Covid], and prevent them from going out in public all together,” Dylan says. Jake reinforces this sentiment. “Covid tests are more necessary. They  protect Covid-positive people who express worser symptoms from the virus,” he says.  

   Omicron‒like previous variants‒has once again decelerated our progress towards a return to normalcy, therefore it is crucial to be aware and take advantage of opportunities like these. Between the N95 mask’s stellar protection and the ability to know your Covid status through an at-home test, we should all be taking these free opportunities to stay healthy and help combat Covid-19.