Biden Leaves Governors Helpless

The White House, CC BY 3.0 US , via Wikimedia Commons

Biden made a huge mistake.

While the Omicron variant rapidly spreads across the U.S., state leaders rush to get millions of COVID-19 rapid tests in the run-up to the new year.

On Tuesday (December 28), Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced the state has made plans to disseminate three million at-home rapid COVID-19 tests, in addition to six million N95 masks. The approximate cost for acquiring the three million tests is $18.5 million, which will be paid for with federal funding.

Lamont will also be calling up 100 members of Connecticut’s National Guard to assist in the efforts to protect residents from this newest variant.

Of the three million tests, 500,000 will be distributed to the general public through iHealth kits, which contain two tests, and an additional one million iHealth kits distributed to the state’s K-12 schools.

Connecticut’s Department of Public Health has also made arrangements to add more testing sites, as COVID-19 cases –– driven by the Omicron variant –– surge.

In a statement, Lamont said the “highly transmissible Omicron variant” was driving up demand for testing, which was outpacing supply. He continued by saying that since the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day was likely to be a period of high transmission, that state wanted to assist residents identify if they have COVID-19, allowing them to isolate to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

New York and Vermont’s state leaders were also planning to acquire more at-home tests to meet demand amid rising cases. However, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said that the state ordered 37 million testing kits, which should be enough to tide it over until the Federal government intervenes with more testing kits and options.

Amid the Omicron variant’s widespread transmission, President Biden pledged half a billion dollars to acquire half a billion free rapid home-testing kits that would be delivered to affected households for free. These statements follow weeks of criticism that blamed the administration’s lack of preparedness for the restricted supply of tests. Yet, the White House announced on Wednesday it would accelerate and execute the contracting timeline, which would allow the first delivery of the 500 million to take place in January.