NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
In December 2020, then President-elect Biden tried to hold Trump’s feet to the fire over his COVID-19 response and took particular issue with the lack of available testing for Americans. The Washington Post reported that Biden called it a “travesty” that the lack of testing remained an issue.
The Biden administration has suffered a political blow from critics who say it did not anticipate a new surge of infections and focused too heavily on vaccinations. Biden told governors late last month that the effort has not been enough.
“We have to do more,” he said. “We have to do better, and we will.”
Biden said it was not a failure but said the new cases led to an alarm bell going off.
Biden also added that “all of a sudden, it was like everybody rushed to the counter. There was a big, big rush, and I knew that was coming. So what I tried to do was meet with the companies and use the Defense Production Act to get a half a billion more tests and figure out how to get them to their homes, get them on the shelves in the stores. That’s what it’s all about.”
The Biden administration announced a plan to purchase 500 million at-home rapid tests for COVID-19 and distribute them for free, but health experts said the number is far below what is needed to address the omicron surge.
Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School Public Health, said the administration’s failure to roll out kits before the Christmas and New Year’s holidays was an “opportunity lost.”
Across the U.S., new COVID-19 cases have tripled in the past two weeks to over 400,000 a day, the highest level on record, amid a rush by many Americans to get tested. Americans have been searching drugstores for scarce home tests or waiting hours in chilly temperatures at testing facilities across the country.
Dr. Ashish K. Jha, the Brown University of Public Health dean, told CNN that he could not believe that “this is where we are almost two years into the pandemic.”
“Everybody saw it coming. We knew we needed more tests. I think the administration dropped the ball on this,” he said.
Fox News’ Bradford Betz, Nikolas Lanum and the Associated Press contributed to this report