President Joe Biden will not announce new restrictions when he addresses the nation amid an omicron COVID-19 case surge on Tuesday.

"This is not a speech about locking the country down," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday.


Biden is expected to make remarks Tuesday after a Monday White House COVID-19 task force meeting. The Monday meeting was convened as the case spike causes students to return to virtual classrooms, Broadway shows to be canceled, and NFL games to be postponed.

Instead, Psaki hinted that Biden would speak about his plan to expand COVID-19 testing after long lines were reported as people prepare to gather for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

"Our objective is to make tests accessible and free for Americans,” she said.

"For those who choose to remain unvaccinated, he'll issue a stark warning," she added. "Unvaccinated individuals will continue to drive hospitalizations and deaths. That's not trying to scare people. It is trying to make clear to people in the country what the risks are here of not being vaccinated."

Biden has not been in close contact with anybody in Congress or the federal government caught in the post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 case uptick. White House staff have a 99% fully vaccinated rate, with booster shots widely available, according to Psaki.

"We expect there to be breakthrough cases across the country," she said.


Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, among others, disclosed they tested positive for COVID-19 last weekend despite both being boosted. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser reinstated a mask mandate starting Tuesday after the city recorded more than 500 new cases last Thursday, a pandemic high.