During an interview with CNN’s Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins, Brown University School of Public Health Dean Dr. Ashish K. Jha was asked whether the administration was missing a “critical window” for COVID testing heading into the new year.
“You saw President Biden yesterday acknowledging, pretty bluntly, that they need to do better when it comes to testing because we are seeing this nationwide shortage of those rapid at-home tests. It’s very difficult to just walk into a store and get one. And what we’re hearing from officials like Dr. Fauci is that they believe they’re gonna have this solved by mid-January, in a few weeks. But, how critical is the window that we’re missing right now for testing?” asked Collins.
“Oh I think it’s incredibly critical, and I cannot believe this is where we are almost two years into the pandemic. Everybody saw it coming. We knew we needed more tests. I think the administration dropped the ball on this,” Jha responded.
Jha said that the Biden administration appeared to be primarily focused on vaccinations throughout the year while “not paying a lot of attention” to the importance of testing. He added that while a focus on vaccines is “terrific,” the decision to largely ignore the infrastructure for testing has been “really costly” this holiday season.
A few CNN correspondents have recently criticized the president for his handling of the pandemic.
CNN reporter Phil Mattingly questioned last week whether the administration’s inability to adequately prepare for the latest variant with testing should be considered a “failure.”
“No, it’s not,” Biden responded. “Because COVID is spreading so rapidly if you notice. It just happened almost overnight just in the last month. And so, it’s not a failure, but an alarm bell went off. I don’t think anybody anticipated that this was going to be as rapidly spreading as it did.”
Biden again admitted to a lack of foresight on rapid tests in a call with several U.S. governors on Monday, saying, “It is not enough. It’s clearly not enough. If I had – we – had known, we would have gone harder, quicker, if we could have.”
Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie contributed to this report.