Biden pledges extra $500m for Ukraine following call with Zelenskiy – US politics live | news

Joe Biden was just at the podium in the White House launching a government website for coronavirus information, and telling the nation: “We’re now at a new moment in this pandemic. It does not mean that Covid-19 is over. It means that Covid-19 no longer controls our lives.”

“Thanks to the foundation we’ve laid, America has the tools to protect our people,” the president said, promoting the new website

“The bottom line, no longer will Americans have to scour the internet to find vaccines, treatments, tests or masks.”

But he swiftly turned his remarks towards asking Congress for more money to continue the effort to halt the coronavirus pandemic.

“Just as we’ve reached a critical turning point in this fight, Congress has to provide the funding America needs to continue to fight Covid-19,” he said.

“This isn’t partisan, it’s medicine,” he added, warning that without the $22.5bn his administration is asking for, monoclonal antibodies will begin to run out by the end of May and preventive therapies for the immunocompromised will be exhausted by the fall .

Joe Biden receives his second coronavirus booster shot at the White House on Thursday.

Joe Biden receives his second coronavirus booster shot at the White House on Thursday. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

As for vaccines, he said: “If Congress fails to act we won’t have the supply we need this fall to ensure the shots are available free and easily accessible for all Americans.”

Calling on politicians to act in unity, Biden gave a somewhat rosy account of taking over the presidency with Covid-19 omnipresent.

“I’m gonna remind you, I took office about 14 months ago, the pandemic was raging, the economy was reeling, the deficit was soaring. Most schools were closed,” he said.

“We didn’t have enough vaccines. The unemployment claims were sky high. And then we got to work and we delivered enough vaccines for every American months ahead of schedule, effective treatments, at-home tests that are free and accessible. Over 99% of our schools are open again.”

The Biden administration’s response to the pandemic, however, stalled in several key areas, particularly after the growth of the spread of the Omicron variant.

He concluded the event by taking a second booster shot – and refusing to answer questions about the situation in Ukraine, or his earlier telephone call with Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

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