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Democrat President Joe Biden faced backlash late this week after an explosive report revealed that his administration allegedly turned down a plan months ago that would have dramatically expanded rapid testing that people can administer at home to see if they have coronavirus.
Coronavirus experts reportedly presented the administration with a 10-page plan more than two months ago that would expand America's ability to quickly detect the virus by producing hundreds of millions of rapid tests per month for use by Americans.
"The plan called for an estimated 732 million tests per month, a number that would require a major ramp-up of manufacturing capacity,"
Vanity Fair reported. "The antigen tests at the center of the plan can detect the virus when patients are at their most contagious. Though less sensitive than polymerase chain reaction (PCR) laboratory tests, which can detect the virus's genetic material at any stage of infection, antigen tests provide a quick snapshot in time for those seeking assurance that they are safe to travel or won't accidentally infect vulnerable relatives."
The plan might have prevented problems that the U.S. is currently experiencing as many Americans are trying to find tests during the holiday season.
"Three days after the meeting, on October 25, the COVID-19 testing experts-who hailed from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Rockefeller Foundation, the COVID Collaborative, and several other organizations-received a back channel communication from a White House official,"
the report added. "Their big, bold idea for free home tests for all Americans to avoid a holiday surge, they were told, was dead."
Vanity Fair also cited an "administration official"
who was allegedly at the meeting, who claimed that such a plan simply wasn't possible at the time: "We did not have capacity to manufacture over-the-counter tests at that scale."
Top scientists slammed Biden over the report, including:
- Dr. Steven Phillips, a vice president of science and strategy for the Covid Collaborative: "The White House, in baseball terms, was playing small ball. When it comes to rapid testing, they're bunting the players along."
- Dr. Jerome Adams, former U.S. Surgeon General: "Wondering if @COVIDOversight will hold hearings on this? Or WH refusal to supply better masks? Or if we'll just keep only talking about 2020?"
- Dr. Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority: "Surprised that expert external guidance was shelved in light of an ongoing pandemic. Seems contradictory to comments that some wished they'd had insight & a plan 2 months ago. It's clear now that there was a plan 2 months ago. It's time we got serious about ending the pandemic."
- Dr. Richard Ebright, Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University and Laboratory Director at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology: "Sad that this is under a new Administration. That had eleven months to get its act together. But that failed utterly."
Biden admitted this week that he wished that he had ordered the tests months ago, telling ABC News, "I've ordered half a billion of the ... 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 a half a billion [tests] two months ago."
"On Tuesday, faced with a terrifying omicron surge, a stampede of holiday travel, and images of Americans waiting in hours-long testing lines from Brooklyn to Miami, Biden finally announced that his administration would do what many experts had been urging since the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic: Give Americans the ability to diagnose themselves,"
the report concluded. "The federal government will launch a website next month where individuals can request free rapid tests that will be mailed to their homes. That plan requires 500 million test kits that the administration has yet to procure."
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