Too Little Too Late: Testing Shortages As Omicron Surges

In a rare Q and A exchange, President Biden was asked if he was partly responsible for the rise of the COVID-19 Omicron virus currently sweeping the nation.

That pointed question was asked by CNN reporter Phil Mattingly, after Biden’s scheduled address to the nation on Tuesday attempting to explain-away the recent surge of the virus across the country.

Mattingly questioned whether this would qualify as a “failure” on the administration’s part to adequately prepare for the latest variant.

On testing, you said we have to do better, but public health officials have been saying for months you need to surge rapid tests for just this moment. Is it a failure that you don’t have an adequate amount of tests for everyone to be able to get one, if they need one, right now?” asked Mattingly.

At first, Biden seemed confused by the question, then softly attempted to explain why the administration was late to respond to the virus.

No it’s not,” Biden responded. “Because COVID is spreading so rapidly if you notice. It just happened almost overnight just in the last month. And so, it’s not a failure, but an alarm bell went off. I don’t think anybody anticipated that this was going to be as rapidly spreading as it did. And so the question is, we had a lot of people who had access to tests who can order them, could have their insurance pay for it, etc.”

Biden continued, attempting (as usual) not to take responsibility for his failures. “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.”

During his televised address, Biden attempted to play catch-up, describing the administrations plan to buy and distribute approximately 500 million COVID-19 tests to make-up for the abysmal mass shortages around the country. Within large urban cities like Chicago and New York, long lines have been reported over the weekend, stretching for blocks within the ‘big apple”, along with wait-time exceeding three to four hours.

PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor also wondered “what took so long” to develop plans to ramp up testing for Americans. Biden, again, responded that the lag came from the unexpected strain from the Omicron virus.

Meanwhile, over at MSNBC, host Andrea Mitchell (no friend of conservatives) also took a swipe at the administration on Tuesday, pressuring the nations top doctor Anthony Fauci as to why the Biden White House was “behind the curve” on securing testing kits for Americans.

The testing shortages are profound, I don’t need to tell you, even for people who fortunately can pay for it and go commercially. They’re just not available,” Mitchell said. “The drugstores don’t have them. The commercial locations don’t have appointments ready because it’s a holiday week, and we all should have anticipated this. I know the president is making a big announcement today, but isn’t the administration behind the curve on being prepared to ship about 500 million free home tests when we need them now?”

Caught off-guard by Mitchell’s blistering probe, Fauci attempted to reassure her, stating, “We’re going to hopefully quickly catch up with that curve, Andrea.”

He then began to rattle-off a series of actions the administration would take in getting testing kits to Americans across the country. He also acknowledged there were many areas in the U.S. where it wasn’t easy to get an immediate test. “Hopefully that will be rapidly corrected.”

One could only imagine if former President Trump was still in charge, we would no doubt have a different outcome.

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