A judge in Texas ruled on January 21 that President Joe Biden could not require federal employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus and blocked the U.S. government from disciplining employees who failed to comply.

The Biden administration is preparing for future variants of COVID-19, White House chief of Staff Ron Klain told MSNBC in an interview that aired on January 20 as the Omicron-related wave of cases appeared to be easing in parts of the United States.

The U.S. government will make 400 million non-surgical N95 masks from its strategic national stockpile available for free to the public starting next week, a White House official said, marking the Biden administration’s latest effort to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. households can order four free at-home COVID-19 tests from the website COVIDTests.gov starting on Jan. 19 with shipping expected within seven to 12 days of ordering, the White House said on Jan. 14.

The Biden administration on January 12 announced a new set of measures to keep classes open, including doubling COVID-19 testing capacity in schools with 10 million more tests, as the Omicron variant spreads rapidly through the United States.

Insurance companies will be required to cover eight over-the-counter at-home coronavirus tests per person each month starting January 15, the Biden administration said, expanding access to highly sought-after kits as Americans grapple with a surge in coronavirus cases.

The Biden administration is finalizing contracts for 500 million rapid COVID-19 tests that it plans to distribute for free to Americans who request them, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on January 4.

U.S. President Joe Biden said on January 4 that COVID-19 cases were rising even at the White House as he urged unvaccinated Americans to get vaccinated and others to get booster shots.

Paxlovid

The Biden administration doubled its order for Pfizer Inc.’s oral COVID-19 antiviral treatment, the company and the White House said on January 4, providing the government a total of 20 million courses as it fights a record surge in COVID-19 cases.

The White House said on December 1 the U.S. Department of Justice “will vigorously defend” the government’s authority to promote its vaccine requirement in federal contracting after courts blocked the Biden administration from enforcing two vaccine mandates.