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Biden touts work on pandemic, calls it ‘a job not yet finished’

In a news conference on Jan. 19, President Biden admitted the U.S. should have expanded access to testing sooner. (Video: The Washington Post)
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At a news conference to mark the end of his first year as president, Joe Biden touted his administration’s work to fight the coronavirus pandemic, though he noted that the crisis was far from over.

“I’m not going to give up and accept things as they are now,” Biden said in his address Wednesday afternoon. “Some people may call what’s happening now the new normal. I call it a job not yet finished. It will get better. We’re moving toward a time and covid-19 won’t disrupt our daily lives, where covid-19 won’t be a crisis, but something to protect against and a threat. Look, we’re not there yet, but we will get there.

More than 854,000 people have died of covid-19 in the United States, and more than 68,628,000 infections have been reported during the pandemic.

The Biden administration plans to distribute 400 million high-quality N95 masks for adults free of charge starting next week, in the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in U.S. history, a White House official said on the condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement.

Americans will be able to get the N95 masks, which will come from the government’s Strategic National Stockpile, at thousands of pharmacies and federal community health centers, the same locations where many received coronavirus vaccinations.

Here’s what to know

  • Newly released federal guidelines discourage the use of two monoclonal antibody treatments, saying they are ineffective against the now-dominant omicron variant.
  • The U.S. government’s website to order free rapid coronavirus tests,, officially launched Wednesday.
  • The World Health Organization’s chief scientist said there was “no evidence right now” that healthy children and adolescents need booster shots amid global vaccine inequity.