President Joe Biden said this week that he will support governors in the fight against the omicron variant of COVID-19.

He also encouraged states to “take the lead” in helping control the pandemic, noting that “There is no federal solution.”

“This gets solved at a state level,” Biden said in a statement, according to CNBC.

“My message to the governors is simple: if you need something, say something,” he said. “We’re going to have your back any way we can.”

Biden’s comments come just after the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention edited its recommendations for people who may have been exposed to the virus. Instead of the standard 14-day quarantine it had previously recommended, the CDC says that suspected exposures should result in a quarantine of 10 or seven days based on test results and symptoms.

“I rely on my medical team. I get a recommendation, I follow it,” Biden said. 

Biden’s administration plans to distribute free COVID-19 tests to Americans, support more vaccinations and testing sites and deploy 1,000 military medical professionals to augment hospital staff nationwide.

Prior to recent case surges, many states had chosen to lessen restrictions in the pandemic. In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, issued an executive order in October prohibiting any entity, including private businesses, from requiring employees or customers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. In recent months, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis broke away from federal public health guidance and curtailed mask and vaccine mandates.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases have surged over the Christmas weekend, and cases are expected to climb into the New Year holiday weekend.

Experts believe the new variant causes mild symptoms, but they also warned that the virus is highly contagious and could strain the U.S. healthcare and hospital systems.

“Every day, it goes up and up. The last weekly average was about 150,000, and it likely will go much higher,”  Dr. Anthony Fauci, a divisive U.S. infectious disease expert, said Sunday on the ABC program This Week.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Pool

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.

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