BIDEN TO ANNOUNCE SUPPORT FOR HOSPITALS, ACCESS TO FREE COVID TESTS, VACCINE AVAILABILITY AMID OMICRON SURGE
This is a change from Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, who suggested that tests be sent to Americans during a briefing earlier in the month.
Residents of Philadelphia waited in line for free at-home rapid COVID-19 testing kits on Monday, December 20, 2021.
Residents of Philadelphia waited in line for free at-home rapid COVID-19 testing kits. The event took place Monday, December 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
“Why not just give them away… and make them accessible everywhere?” asked NPR reporter Mara Liasson.
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“Shouldn’t we just send one to each American?” Psaki laughed. Psaki responded sarcastically to Liasson’s suggestion.
“Then, what happens… if each American has one test?” What is the cost of that test, and what are the consequences? She asked.
As President Biden steps off Marine One from the South Lawn at the White House in Washington Monday, December 20, 2021, he salutes.
Biden salutes when he takes off from Marine One on Monday, December 20, 2021, on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Although the exact answers to these questions are still unknown, the president will announce Tuesday the purchase of at least 500,000,000 at-home rapid test kits to be sent to Americans free of charge.
These tests will not be made available to Americans before the winter holidays. They are meant to help Americans decide whether they want to spend time with friends or family. In January, the tests will be first sent to American households.
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New York City residents may have some good news. Biden will also announce the opening of several new federal testing locations throughout the U.S. New York City will be the first to go live this week.
Jen Psaki, press secretary, speaks at the White House daily briefing on Monday Dec. 20, 2021.
Jen Psaki, press secretary, speaks at the White House daily briefing on Monday Dec. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Officials acknowledged that testing in the United States was “a lot more than it used to be,” but also admitted that there is still much to be done.