To prepare for an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the fall, the federal government has purchased an additional 100 million at-home rapid tests from domestic manufacturers, the White House said Thursday.
But, the administration acknowledged, it does not have the necessary funding to acquire as many of the tests as it would like heading into the fall, when the number of cases most likely will increase.
“The administration is acting, within its limited funding, to increase the supply of at-home COVID-19 tests in the Strategic National Stockpile by purchasing over 100 million additional at-home, rapid tests from domestic manufacturers,” the White House said in a statement.
“While insufficient to adequately replenish our existing stockpile of at-home tests, this procurement will help meet some testing needs in the months ahead and will put us in a better position to manage a potential increase in testing demand this fall and winter.
“And, it will further the administration’s goal of mobilizing and strengthening the domestic testing manufacturing industrial base.”
Congress has not “stepped up,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said earlier this week, referring to a lack of further funding for COVID-19 requested by President Joe Biden’s administration.
“We will not have tests in our Strategic National Stockpile should we see another omicron like event,” Becerra said Tuesday.
“We had promised the American people we would make sure that we did not get into that, but we needed Congress to step up. Congress has not stepped up.”
Last week, the administration sent an updated $22.4-billion request to Congress for immediate short-term domestic needs, including testing.
“The administration has made clear to Congress that we need additional funding for the nation’s COVID-19 response. As we warned for months, congressional inaction has forced us to make difficult tradeoffs that harm our response and preparedness,” a White House statement said.
It added: “While we have made tremendous progress on COVID-19, Congress must step up to ensure that we can continue to stay on our front foot against this unpredictable virus”
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