Who is he fooling?
Despite a nationwide COVID-19 test shortage, the 500 million COVID-19 tests promised by the White House will still be arriving later this month.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the expectation was that “the first delivery from manufacturers will start later this month.” Psaki also revealed that upon the arrival of the tests, the Biden administration would be setting up a website to make the tests available to order.
For those who had purchased tests, Psaki mentioned that –– starting next week –– insurance companies would reimburse people for the cost of tests.
In the press briefing, where Psaki was primarily questioned about COVID-19, one reporter queried whether President Biden acknowledged that vaccines didn’t provide any protection from getting infected with the virus and only prevented hospitalization or death.
In response, Psaki said Biden wasn’t “telling anyone to accept anything.” Instead, she pointed out that the President was only relaying “to people what they can do to protect themselves.” Psaki also mentioned that it was important for people to get vaccinated and boosted to “reduce the potential for hospitalization and death.”
During the briefing, Psaki tried to relay the notion that the White House had made progress fighting the virus, despite a sharp rise in cases. To do this, she mentioned how more than 200 million Americans had been vaccinated, boosters and vaccines were readily available, and the 500 million tests were on their way. She also emphasized another indicator of progress: 97% of schools remaining open, which Biden supports.
However, schools remaining open during the current wave of infections has garnered mixed reactions. While a handful of city school districts have closed to curb the spread of infection, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo was eager to pursue a different testing methodology. The Surgeon General said now was the appropriate time to “unwind” the federal government’s “testing psychology” and a “preoccupation that only COVID is determining the boundaries and constraints and possibilities of life.”
Instead, Ladapo revealed that a suitable option would be to introduce “high value” testing for vulnerable individuals, where early intervention could have a significant impact, and test those who were at low risk of developing serious illness less frequently.
When Psaki was queried about Ladapo’s approach, she only pointed to “our health and medical experts on when tests should be administered and utilized,” saying the focus was to make tests “available, accessible, and free to the public.”