The White House will unveil President Biden’s new coronavirus response strategy on Wednesday, a lengthy document intended to usher the nation into what some are calling a “new normal” — even as the possibility of another deadly variant looms.
White House officials declined to discuss details of the new strategy, but a person familiar with the plan said it would be released on Wednesday. It is expected to address a broad range of issues, including developing new vaccines and therapeutics and how to keep schools and businesses open even if the pandemic takes a turn for the worse.
The idea behind the strategy is to get the nation out of crisis mode, and to a place, Mr. Biden has said, where the virus will no longer disrupt everyday life, and Americans will learn to live with it.
Over the past week, as top federal health officials have been debating the new strategy, they have been evaluating a 136-page blueprint by outside experts whose recommendations include stronger air filtration systems in public buildings, billions of dollars in research and a major upgrade to the nation’s public health system. Officials have also been meeting with the authors of the plan.
Titled “Getting to and Sustaining the Next Normal: A Road Map for Living With Covid,” the experts’ plan assumes that there will be fewer deaths from Covid-19 in 2022 than in 2021. The administration has already adopted one of its recommendations, by issuing new guidelines for masking and other social distancing measures.
Mr. Biden has been walking a fine line in addressing the coronavirus pandemic, one of the biggest challenges of his presidency.
With cases declining and the 2022 midterm elections approaching, he declared in his State of the Union address Tuesday night: “We have reached a new moment in the fight against Covid.”
But the president reminded Americans that the virus is unpredictable, and that they must remain vigilant, while pledging to remain vigilant himself, by preparing for the possibility of future variants.
“Thanks to the progress we’ve made in the past year, Covid-19 no longer need control our lives,” Mr. Biden said. “Tonight I say that we will never just accept living with Covid-19, we will continue to combat the virus as we do with other diseases.”
An average of about 66,000 new coronavirus cases are being reported each day in the United States, according to a New York Times database. That is far less than the average daily caseload of about 800,000 in January, at the peak of the winter surge fueled by the highly infectious Omicron variant. But it is still more than five times what the daily caseload was last June, before the Delta variant drove a summer surge.