Thu, 19 May 2022

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The United States has taken more actions to contain the new COVID-19 surge, including offering more free test kits and "high quality masks" to Americans.

President Joe Biden announced on Thursday his administration would make "high-quality masks" available to Americans for free.

He also announced his administration would purchase an additional 500 million COVID-19 tests on top of the 500 million tests he previously announced.

The new announcements came as the United States struggles to address record high daily cases, hospitalizations, testing challenges and messaging frustration.

A total of 1,481,375 new cases and 1,904 new deaths were reported on Monday, according to data of Johns Hopkins University. The single-day increase of cases has set a new record around the globe since the onset of the pandemic.

The country is now averaging over 760,000 new COVID-19 cases each day and over 1,600 new deaths each day, up significantly week by week, according to latest CDC data.

The recent COVID-19 surge in the United States driven by the highly infectious Omicron variant is leading to record high hospitalizations, and critical shortages of healthcare staffs.

The country is averaging over 20,000 new hospitalizations each day, up 24.5 percent over the previous week, setting a new record since the CDC started tracking the data from Aug. 1, 2020.

Nineteen U.S. states have less than 15 percent remaining capacity in their ICUs amid health care staffing shortages. Four of them have less than 10 percent capacity, including Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana and New Hampshire, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Wednesday.

The Biden administration announced it will deploy additional federal medical teams to six states to help the overwhelmed hospitals, including New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Michigan and New Mexico.

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