President Biden’s plan to expand COVID-19 testing, prepare for variant threats
President Joe Biden announced a series of new actions “to expand COVID-19 testing, improve the availability of tests and better prepare for the threat of variants.”
The White House released the information on Wednesday. It includes:
Expand COVID-19 Testing for Schools and Underserved Populations. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD), will make a $650 million investment to expand testing opportunities for K-8 schools and underserved congregate settings, such as homeless shelters.
Increase Domestic Manufacturing of Testing Supplies. HHS and DOD will invest $815 million to increase domestic manufacturing of testing supplies and raw materials that have created shortage issues, including filter pipette tips, nitrocellulose used in antigen point-of-care tests, and specific injected molded plastics needed to house testing reagents.
Rapidly Increase Virus Genome Sequencing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will invest nearly $200 million to identify, track, and mitigate emerging strains of SARS-CoV-2 through genome sequencing.
The White House says that these actions are “only the beginning of what is needed to expand testing nationwide and get the pandemic under control.”
“The American Rescue Plan will invest $50 billion to expand and support testing, including in priority settings like schools and shelters, and invest in U.S. testing capacity so that public health officials can track the virus in real time and Americans can efficiently get results.”