COVID News: Senator Schumer wants HHS to cover cost of at-home tests

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Tuesday, December 7, 2021
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Senator Schumer urges HHS to provide free at-home COVID-19 testing kits after President Biden's announcement.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York Senator Charles Schumer is doubling down on President Biden's plan to make at-home COVID tests free.

Senator Schumer wants the test kits to be available at community health centers and mobile sites across the state.

He wants the Department of Health and Human Services to set aside funds to cover the costs.

"So instead of saying, go to your pharmacy, pay for it and maybe your insurance company will reimburse you, give them to community health centers, put them out on mobile vans, and let people get the tests for free," Schumer said. "We have plenty of these tests."

The senator added that already passed COVID relief bills could foot the cost.

Meanwhile, the White House is expected to release a plan sometime next month.

Here are more of today's COVID-19 headlines:

CDC now urging people to use rapid tests ahead of indoor gatherings

The CDC is now urging people to use a rapid test before heading to an indoor gathering, even if they are vaccinated and don't have symptoms. "Consider using a self-test before joining indoor gatherings with others who are not in your household," the CDC wrote.

NYRR to require COVID-19 full vaccination to participate in 2022 races

New York Road Runners announced that runners taking part in its 2022 adult races will be required to show proof of COVID-19 full vaccination to participate.

With COVID variants and cases increasing, the decision was made in collaboration with medical and public health experts and state and local government officials. The new health and safety protocol will begin with the NYRR Midnight Run on December 31 and continue with races moving forward.

"We are excited to have our traditional calendar of events safely return in the new year," said Kerin Hempel, CEO, NYRR. "The health and wellness of all of those involved continue to remain at the forefront of our organization."

All entrants will be required to show proof of full vaccination series authorized by the Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or on the World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Use lists. Runners who have already registered for a 2022 race will have the option to receive a refund or gift card or donate their race entry fee to NYRR's youth and community programs.

Sen. Gillibrand, Asian American community leaders encourage vaccine

Following the discovery of the omicron variant in New York City, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined U.S. Representative Nydia Velázquez, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and community leaders at Hamilton-Madison House, a leading non-profit serving Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, to encourage vaccination against COVID-19 and to discuss issues facing the AAPI community.

Senator Gillibrand toured Hamilton-Madison House's Naturally Occurring Retirement Community and child care facility and met with community members.

NYC Vaccine Mandate

A vaccine mandate for all private-sector employers across the board in NYC will go into effect December 27, Mayor de Blasio announced on Monday. He called it a proactive, "First in the nation measure."

New US travel rules: What you need to know about the changes prompted by omicron

Just when we thought US travel rules were starting to stabilize, along comes omicron.

The dominoes fell quickly after South African health authorities informed the world of their discovery of the omicron variant of the coronavirus in late November.

The Biden administration rolled out controversial travel bans on arrivals from eight nations in southern Africa. Travelers found themselves unexpectedly stranded. And now US officials are tightening travel regulations again.

Early reports on COVID-19 omicron variant encouraging, Fauci says

U.S. health officials said Sunday that while the omicron variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading throughout the country, early indications suggest it may be less dangerous than delta, which continues to drive a surge of hospitalizations.

President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN's "State of the Union" that scientists need more information before drawing conclusions about omicron's severity.

Tri-State omicron case count up to 10 as hospitals strain under delta surge

So far, there's been a total of 10 confirmed cases in the Tri-State area including eight in New York, one in New Jersey, and one in Connecticut.

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