ALL NEWS

Biden administration to boost at-home rapid testing with $1 billion investment

Oct 7, 2021, 8:54 AM | Updated: 8:57 am
biden rapid testing...
FILE - This Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021 file photo shows a BinaxNOW rapid COVID-19 test made by Abbott Laboratories, in Tacoma, Wash. On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, the FDA said Abbott’s BinaxNow and Quidel’s QuickVue tests can now be sold without a prescription for consumers to test themselves repeatedly at home. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

    (CNN) — It’s about to get faster, easier and cheaper to get an at-home Covid-19 test, the Biden administration says. The administration is set to boost Covid-19 testing in the US by announcing an additional investment in at-home rapid tests.

White House Covid-19 coordinator Jeff Zients announced on Wednesday a $1 billion investment, which will go toward purchasing rapid at-home Covid-19 tests to put on the market.

“This means companies will be able to expand production of tests even further based on the United States government’s commitment to procuring an additional 180 million rapid tests over the course of the next year, with tens of millions more tests coming to market over the course of the next 30 days,” Zients said.

In September, President Joe Biden announced a $2 billion investment in rapid testing for community health centers, food bank and schools, and also announced that retailers including Walmart, Amazon and Kroger will sell at-home rapid test kits at cost for the next three months.

But demand has outpaced supply for those tests so far, with shelves empty across the country. The administration is seeking to quickly ramp up that supply.


Dave and Dujanovic are breaking this all down at 9:05, stay tuned for more.


The $1 billion announcement also comes days after the US Food and Drug Administration authorized Flowflex, an at-home antigen test from ACON laboratories, which will accelerate the pace of rapid tests hitting the shelves.

The Flowflex test authorization, the FDA said in a statement Monday, “should significantly increase the availability of rapid, at-home tests and is expected to double rapid at-home testing capacity in the U.S. over the next several weeks.”

While the US was previously on track to double the supply of rapid at-home tests available on the market each month by early November, Zients said the authorization of the ACON laboratories test “accelerates this pace and we are now on track to triple the number by early November.” The new commitments by manufacturers, he said, “puts us on track to quadruple the amount of at-home rapid tests available for Americans by December.”

Zients also said the administration will double the number of pharmacies where free Covid-19 testing is available. Biden committed in September to making free testing available at 10,000 pharmacies across the country.

“We’re on track to meet that goal in the coming weeks and today we’re doubling our commitment to a total of 20,000 local pharmacies,” Zients said.

The administration is working to increase US vaccinations, with 76% of the US population over 12 years of age having at least one vaccine dose as of Wednesday and that number growing as workplace mandates go into effect. But fast, easy, affordable testing remains a critical tool to getting the pandemic under control and curbing outbreaks.

There are several types of diagnostic tests, including antigen tests, which are generally faster and more affordable, and can be performed alone at home or with a virtual aide, or may be administered by a doctor or pharmacist. The “gold standard” of Covid-19 tests are rt-PCR tests, a type of nucleic acid amplification test, which are highly accurate and detect genetic material from the virus.

The current seven-day average of new tests is just over 1.7 million per day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University Centers for Civic Impact, down from a January 2021 high of 2 million, but significantly increased from a July 2021 low seven-day weekly average of 492,000 new tests.

Former US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield, who led the agency under former President Donald Trump, acknowledged Wednesday that the Trump administration should have done more to build up US testing capacity in the first months of the pandemic.

“There was no ‘warp speed’ for diagnostics. You know, if we could do a rerun, we’d have a warp speed for diagnostics. That’d be our top priority,” Redfield said in an interview with SiriusXM Doctor Radio’s “Doctor Radio Reports.”

Redfield said that he and then-Covid-19 task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx began to understand in mid-February 2020 that Covid-19 was a “new virus” and that “asymptomatic spreads are going to be a problem and testing has gotta be the backbone of our strategy to try to control this epidemic.”

But the US, he said, “was always behind” in testing. Trump frequently lambasted US testing efforts, falsely claiming that more testing added Covid-19 cases to the total case count, amid concerns that could be used against him politically. “Cases, Cases, Cases! If we didn’t test so much and so successfully, we would have very few cases,” Trump said in one of many tweets on the matter.

Redfield suggested BARDA, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, an office within the US Department of Health and Human Services, could have done more to stimulate the private sector into developing more testing and he was “disappointed” they did not do so.

“If we could rewrite this again, we needed Roche and we needed Abbott,” he said, referencing two health care companies, “and we needed the diagnostic companies on a Manhattan Project in January pouring out — literally, we should have been testing, you know, 5 million, 10 million tests a day,” he said.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronaviruses transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.
  • Get vaccinated.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

 

Today’s Top Stories

All News

The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s office is being sued after what started with a Snapchat request in...
Hugo Rikard-Bell

Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office being sued after former cadet reports abuse

A former Salt Lake County Sheriff deputy and academy instructor allegedly committed numerous sexual assaults against a former cadet.
1 day ago
Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock speaks during an election day canvass launch on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 20...
The Associated Press

Democratic Sen. Warnock wins Georgia runoff against Walker

The Associated Press has projected Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock as the winner of the Georgia runoff election.
1 day ago
Salt Lake Express...
Mark Jones

Salt Lake Express announces new route to Reno, Nevada

Salt Lake Express is now offering service to Reno, Nevada. The route began Dec. 1 after months of working with the Nevada Department of Transportation.
1 day ago
The Utah Department of Public Safety issued an apology to the family of a woman who was allegedly r...
Thomas Haraldsen

DPS offers apology to family of rape victim from more than 50 years ago

The Utah Department of Public Safety issued an apology to the family of a woman who was allegedly raped by a UHP officer over 50 years ago.
1 day ago
The Salt Lake City Police Department announced its response times for the month of November improve...
Mark Jones

Salt Lake City Police announce response times for November

The Salt Lake City Police Department announced its response times for the month of November improved by 12 minutes and 15 seconds compared to November 2021. 
1 day ago
Gardening writer Jeff Lowenfels identifies five classic holiday plants: paperwhites, poinsettias, C...
JEFF LOWENFELS Associated Press

5 plants that say `holiday season,’ and how to care for them

Gardening writer Jeff Lowenfels identifies five plants that are holiday classics: paperwhites, poinsettias, Christmas trees, amaryllis and Christmas cactus.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Biden administration to boost at-home rapid testing with $1 billion investment