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Biden announces plans to buy 500 million more COVID tests and to offer free masks

Andrew Harnik
President Joe Biden speaks about the government’s COVID-19 response, in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Campus in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Biden announced Thursday that the administration will be buy another 500 million at-home COVID-19 tests for Americans, in addition to the 500 million already being procured. A website will launch next week so Americans can order the free tests, Biden announced.

He also said the White House will make high-quality masks available for free, with details coming out next week.

Biden also said six new federal medical teams will be dispatched to aid overwhelmed hospitals in six states, "helping to decompress overwhelmed emergency departments, and freeing up healthcare providers to continue other lifesaving care," according to a White House statement.

The medical teams are being sent to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio; Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn; Rhode Island Hospital in Providence; Henry Ford Hospital just outside Detroit; University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque; and University Hospital in Newark, N.J.

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NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk. In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies.