Biden Says Would Have Gone ‘Harder, Quicker’ If He Could Foresee Omicron Variant

© REUTERS / EVELYN HOCKSTEINU.S. President Joe Biden and his COVID-19 Response Team hold their regular call with the National Governors Association to discuss his Administration's response to the Omicron variant and to hear from the Governors on the needs in their States, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House, in Washington, U.S., December 27, 2021
U.S. President Joe Biden and his COVID-19 Response Team hold their regular call with the National Governors Association to discuss his Administration's response to the Omicron variant and to hear from the Governors on the needs in their States, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House, in Washington, U.S., December 27, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.12.2021
Subscribe
International
India
Africa
Last week, President Biden’s administration announced the purchase of 500 million coronavirus tests that would be distributed among American families for free, starting from January 2022. The proposal to extend free tests before the Christmas holiday was reportedly dismissed by Biden’s office earlier in October.
US President Joe Biden said on Monday that he would have taken much stronger action if he could have foreseen that the new Omicron coronavirus variant would send pandemic rates soaring.
“We went from no over-the-counter tests in January to 46 million in October, 100 million in November and almost 200 million in December. That’s not enough. It’s clearly not enough. If I — we’d known, we would have gone harder, quicker if we could have,” Biden said during a virtual meeting with state governors.
As the Vanity Fair reported on Thursday, experts from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Rockefeller Foundation, the COVID Collaborative and other groups presented on 22 October the administration with a plan to produce 732 million tests per month to cover the high demand amid the increased traveling and gatherings during the preholiday and Christmas season. The plan involved the dissemination of free rapid tests “for every American household” over the holidays.
The White House however refused to accept the proposal, with one official reportedly saying that there is no “capacity to manufacture over-the-counter tests at that scale.”
Biden also announced that his administration ordered private insurance companies to start reimbursing the costs for rapid testing in two weeks. The government also plans to send another 50 million rapid tests to local hospitals for free distribution.
Speaking to ABC News on Wednesday, President Biden admitted that he regrets the hesitant response to the spread of the Omicron variant, saying that he should have been quicker in adopting the plan to produce 500 million rapid tests, announced earlier in the week.
“The answer is, yeah, I wish I had thought about ordering a half a billion [tests] two months ago, before COVID hit here,” Biden said.
The mass distribution of 500 million at-home rapid tests is expected to start in January, but there were no details provided regarding the exact date and how many tests one household can request.
Рождественские декорации Белого дома в Вашингтоне  - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.12.2021
Xmas Gift for Biden? Manchin Reportedly Tells President How Build Back Better Could Be Saved
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 death toll under the Biden administration has now surpassed Trump-era rates. To date, both presidents have been in office during the pandemic for over 10 months.
Authorities of Harris County in Texas announced last week the first death from the Omicron variant. The patient was an unvaccinated 50-year-old man. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the new COVID-19 variant has already become dominant in the US, accounting for 73.2 percent of the total number of the positively tested over the past week, while a week earlier Omicron rates stood at 12 percent.
Newsfeed
0
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
loader
Chats
Заголовок открываемого материала