: Biden to order 500 million more COVID tests for U.S. and provide free masks

President Joe Biden on Thursday announced that his administration is ordering another 500 million COVID-19 rapid tests kits for Americans, while giving an update on the federal government’s pandemic response as the omicron variant spreads

The move means a total of 1 billion COVID tests should become available, as Biden last month had announced plans to buy a half-billion kits and ship them free to Americans.

“We’re on track to roll out a website next week, where you can order free tests shipped to your home,” Biden said, as he delivered a brief speech from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Related: White House making final touches for plan to mail 500 million COVID test kits

The president also said his administration plans to make high-quality masks available to Americans for free, with more details to be announced next week.

In addition, he said military medical teams are heading to hard-hit states. That comes after his administration last month announced troops with medical skills would go to struggling hospitals.

The president continued to urge people to get COVID vaccines, and he made a plea to social networks and other media companies.

“I make a special appeal to social-media companies SOCL, -2.53% and media outlets. Please deal with the misinformation and disinformation that’s on your shows,” he said.

U.S. stock gauges SPX, -0.31% DJIA, +0.29% COMP, -0.92% gained Thursday as traders switched their focus from hot inflation to corporate earnings.

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