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President Joe Biden’s promise to America of 500 million free COVID test kits to help mitigate the spread of the Omicron variant may not be fulfilled quickly enough to contain the virus that has already ruined Christmas for many and threatens to spur another round of punishing restrictions on a nation that has already suffered greatly.
When Biden gave his big speech on Tuesday outlining the administration’s plan to address Omicron, he sought to ease the hysteria over the latest strain with his vow to provide the tests but left out a major detail that the government had yet to sign a contract to purchase them, and the website to order the at-home kits won’t be up until January, two major issues that were pointed out by The New York Times.
We’re purchasing 500 million at-home rapid COVID tests that will be distributed for free to Americans who want them. pic.twitter.com/m9rgb9kjmP
— President Biden (@POTUS) December 22, 2021
According to the Times report, “Mr. Biden’s administration has not yet signed a contract to buy the tests, and the website to order them will not be up until January. Officials have not said how many tests people will be able to order or how quickly they will be shipped once they begin to be available next month. Manufacturers say they are already producing tests as fast as they can.”
The administration’s lack of testing has drawn criticism from many and despite Biden’s slamming of shortfalls in testing when President Donald J. Trump was still in the White House which he called a “colossal” failure during the original onset of the pandemic, he has repeatedly come up lacking when it comes to getting the virus under control as he had vowed to do during the campaign.
“That’s not a plan — it’s a hope,” epidemiologist Jennifer Nuzzo of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said, according to the Times. “If those tests came in January and February, that could have an impact, but if they are spread out over 10 to 12 months, I’m not sure what kind of impact it is going to have.”
Another epidemiologist, Dr. Michael Mina who has been an advocate for more testing was also quoted by the NYT, saying, “Had this been started a long time ago, maybe things would be a bit different.”
“But this is where we are now, and we kind of have to deal with it,” he said.
The story also noted that “it is unlikely that the 500 million new tests will become available all at once,” according to experts.
Biden rejected the idea that the lack of test kit availability was a failure on his behalf during an interview with ABC News that aired Wednesday night.
Joe Biden admits he was unprepared for a winter surge of COVID cases.
“Yeah, I wish I had thought about ordering a half a billion [tests] TWO MONTHS AGO before COVID hit here.”pic.twitter.com/hZh1DWk9SO
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) December 23, 2021
Host David Muir asked, “If you go to the pharmacy, we hear this over and over again, empty shelves, no test kits, is that a failure?”
“No, I don’t think it’s a failure, I think it’s… you can argue that we should have know a year ago, six months ago, two months ago, a month ago… I’ve ordered half a billion of the pills,” Biden responded, confusing the new oral COVID treatment with the tests. “500 million pills… excuse me, 500 million test kits that are going to be available to be sent to every home in America if anybody wants them.”
“But, the answer is yeah, I wish I had thought about ordering half a billion pills two months ago before COVID hit here,” he added, again mixing up pills and test kits.
Muir persisted, “We’re nearly two years into this pandemic, you’re a year into the presidency, empty shelves and no text kits in some places, three days before Christmas when it’s so important, is that good enough?”
Biden admitted, “No, nothing’s been good enough,” a self-own from the increasingly unpopular president.
Twitter users reacted to the administration’s latest failure, another in a growing list.
Biden just admitted he failed to order COVID tests when he should've two months ago.
This testing shortage is on Joe Biden.
— Tommy Pigott (@TommyPigott) December 22, 2021
Not having enough #COVID tests, monoclonal antibody infusions, and the #Pfizer pill available now in stock piles rests sole at the feet of #Biden – many deaths over the next few weeks are on his head because his administration was unprepared, and they KNEW #Omicron was coming.
— Matthew Betley 🇺🇸🏴☠️ (@MatthewBetley) December 22, 2021
They wait until Dec. 21st, in the midst of the holiday travel surge and anticipated uptick in Covid cases, to announce they are sending Covid tests out.
It’s almost like the pandemic “plan” President Biden promised on the campaign trail, continues to be nonexistent. https://t.co/zlGlRNHxWZ
— Michele Perez Exner (@michelepexner) December 21, 2021
Who cares, by the time they even build a website that doesn’t crash, it will be too late.
— Indy (@Dontcallmejunor) December 23, 2021
So what happened to the 2 trillion in the coronavirus relief bill?
— OC and Stiggs (@_Me_Three) December 23, 2021
In yet another sign of an administration in disarray, White House press secretary Jen Psaki had to choke down a good-sized helping of crow as she was forced to walk back her snarky remark from two weeks ago when she shot down the idea of the mass distribution of government-provided home test kits after Biden’s announcement.
Reporter: "A couple weeks ago you stood at the podium when there was a discussion about sending tests to people's homes and you said, 'should we just send them to every American?' Have you reflected on your tone in that answer?"
Jen Psaki: "There's not a day that goes by…" pic.twitter.com/lgL35Ntsuz
— The Hill (@thehill) December 21, 2021
With only two shopping days left before Christmas and America once again in a full-fledged state of panic, it’s hard to see how any of this is going to provide a booster to Biden’s dismal approval ratings.
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