Last week’s White House report reiterated President Biden’s employer mandate that companies with 100 or more employees require every worker to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested weekly. The requirement affects more than 80 million workers in the private sector sector.
Jeffrey Zients, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, summed up in last week’s press briefing that: “We are on track to quadruple the supply of rapid home tests available to Americans. by December to over 200 million per month and to increase the number of places Americans can access free testing in the United States to 30,000 community locations. ”
He underscored the president’s firm commitment to already add $ 1 billion in additional funding to the recent $ 2 billion investment to increase supply.
CORONAVIRUS IN THE UNITED STATES: STATE BY STATE BREAKDOWN
Two manufacturers, Quidel and OraSure, will further expand their rapid test production capabilities, which is expected to increase to tens of millions of tests per month.
“Employer demand has gone crazy,” Quidel chief executive Doug Bryant told Reuters recently, noting that last week the company was unable to meet all employer demands.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new rapid home test produced by ACON Laboratories known as Flowflex, further accelerating the availability of home tests. Zients considered the test to be the most affordable on the market, estimating that the kit will cost around $ 10 per test.
He noted that large government purchases of these home tests are expected to reduce costs. Additionally, the White House has been working with Amazon, Kroger, and Walmart to sell rapid test kits at cost for the next several months.
Bidding wars between health care systems and states have so far led to higher prices in the United States, according to Reuters.
Dr. Arthur Reingold, chairman of the California COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Task Force and head of the epidemiology division at UC Berkeley, warned in an email to Fox News: “The The United States has lagged behind many other wealthy countries in performing reliable COVID-19 tests, especially rapid tests, which are widely available. ”
WHY ARE SOME COUNTRIES RECOMMENDING A SINGLE DOSE CORONAVIRUS VACCINE FOR TEENS AND YOUNG ADULTS?
As European countries continued to buy rapid test kits in May, the Abbott lab, which makes one of the most popular rapid test kits known as BinaxNOW, decided to lay off workers and throw away components expired due to its surplus at that time, according to it’s news.
On October 5, the FDA issued an alert detailing a recall of COVID-19 rapid test kits produced by Australian company Ellume after discovering that some of the tests resulted in a higher than expected false positive rate of COVID-19. A false positive result means the patient is diagnosed with an infection that they do not actually have.
However, Dr. Jeffrey E. Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, wrote in a press release earlier this month that home COVID-19 testing is a high priority for review. of the FDA.
Reingold noted: “The announcement that the Biden administration is allocating more funds to the wider dissemination of rapid tests is very good news. The results of these tests can facilitate decisions for individuals and families; schools and workplaces; and everything from long-term care facilities to restaurants to sports clubs to spectator events and concerts to the safe return to the activities everyone is eager to get back to. ”
The White House last week doubled the number of local pharmacies in the federal government’s free testing program, so there are around 30,000 sites available to access a free COVID-19 rapid test.
The large pharmacy chains are mobilizing to meet growing demand. Joseph Goode, senior director of corporate communications at CVS, told Fox News: “We continue to be able to meet the demand for COVID-19 testing in most locations, even with growing numbers of patients. looking for tests. the country offers several over-the-counter COVID-19 test kits, allowing patients to self-test at home. ”
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In response to strong demand, CVS introduced product limits for Abbott’s BinaxNOW and Quidel tests, but Goode noted that CVS is committed to working with vendors to meet customer demand.