“I think it’s hard to process what’s actually happening right now, which is: Most people are going to get COVID, all right?” a top government official said. “What we need to do is make sure the hospitals can still function — transportation, other essential services are not disrupted while this happens.”

Starting next week, 1,000 military medical personnel will begin arriving to help mitigate staffing crunches at hospitals across the country. Many facilities are struggling because their workers are in at-home quarantines due to the virus at the same time as a nationwide spike in COVID-19 cases. The new deployments will be on top of other federal medical personnel who have already been sent to states to help with acute shortages.

Biden planned to deliver remarks Thursday morning on the “surge response” to COVID-19, the White House said. The administration’s focus is shifting to easing disruptions from the nationwide spike in cases that is also contributing to grocery shortages and flight cancellations.

On Tuesday, Janet Woodcock, the acting head of the Food and Drug Administration, told Congress that the highly transmissible strain will infect “most people” and that the focus should turn to ensuring critical services can continue uninterrupted.

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