The Biden administration has announced a new strategy for addressing COVID-19 that will help shepherd a return to normalcy after two years of the pandemic. For this plan to work, the White House will be relying on three pillars that it has maintained throughout the last year: masks, vaccines and testing - all for free.

On Wednesday, the White House shared a 96-page roadmap that laid out in detail how it planned to execute its strategy while at the same time ensuring that the government is not caught off guard by a new variant of COVID-19 if one were to emerge. At the moment, the situation around the virus appears to be easing enough that health officials felt confident enough to relax restrictions nationally, but the administration aims to keep this going while maintaining its flexibility to act.

"We are clearly going in the right direction and with all the interventions we have, I believe that we are prepared for the possibility that we will get another variant, with regard to vaccines, boosters, testing, good masks and antivirals," Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the White House, said after the plan was unveiled.

On vaccinations, the plan calls for increased government support for research and development of a vaccine that can encompass all strains of COVID-19. What it also calls for is an increase in production capacity to 1 billion more doses per year to ensure a ready supply of vaccines remains accessible.

Another important item in the plan is one President Joe Biden previewed in his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night. Biden said that he plans to introduce a “Test-To-Treat” program that would ensure a patient receives testing and access to treatment for COVID-19 on the same day, all at no cost.

As part of this program, the Biden administration aims to increase the amount of antiviral pills to treat COVID-19 like Pfizer-BioNTech’s Paxlovid. The pill was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year, but manufacturing was delayed by the arrival of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in late November.

To support this program, hundreds of “One-Stop Test to Treat” locations will open across the country starting this month, according to White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients. These locations will be at pharmacy-based clinics, community health centers, long-term care facilities and Department of Veterans Affairs facilities nationwide.

The Biden administration is moving away from broad recommendations based on case counts and test positivity, and instead adopting a reaction model that would see preventive measures applied only when they are most needed. The plan aims to be more accommodative to Americans wearing masks less as immunity from severe infection begins to build over time.

The White House will require support from Congress to help fund this plan, but it has yet to release a final figure on how much it expects it to cost.