Biden can’t even give stuff away for free.
As COVID-19 cases continue to decline, nearly half of the 500 million free COVID-19 tests made available to the public by the Biden administration remain unclaimed.
The swings in demand for COVID tests have followed a similar trajectory as many other pandemic essentials 一 like hand sanitizer, masks, and vaccines 一 during the pandemic. On the first day the package of four rapid tests became available, the COVIDtests.gov website received more than 45 million orders. Today, that figure is less than 100,000 orders a day, according to officials.
Despite the limited demand, the White House has revealed that the program is intended to be part of the administration’s progress to establishing a deeper but more versatile testing infrastructure. The infrastructure will accommodate spikes in demand but stand by during lulls.
According to a report by the Associated Press, Dr. Tom Inglesby, a testing adviser to the COVID-19 response team, revealed they would “sustain” the current availability of COVID-19 tests, saying that the response team is aware “the market is volatile and will come up and down with surges in variants.”
The White House has also released data that shows Americans have placed 68 million orders to date, which would mean 46% of the stock is still available.
However, independent experts have shared their views that the need for testing could increase as mask requirements are eased. “If infection control is still our priority, testing is central,” Dr. Leana Wen, a former Baltimore health commissioner, said. She also added that the four tests in the package were only enough for one family “to last you one time” but that there should be enough tests for families to test twice a week.