March 27, 2023

The Inglewood, California forum began distributing vaccinations that served as both a COVID-19 vaccination site and a COVID-19 test site.

Al Seib | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

The Biden government announced Wednesday that it will invest more than $ 1.6 billion to expand the supply of Covid-19 testing and expand testing programs in schools and elsewhere, as well as genome sequencing in the United States.

“We have to test broadly and quickly to turn the tide against this pandemic,” said Carole Johnson, the White House’s Covid-19 test coordinator, at a press conference. “But we still don’t have enough tests and we don’t have enough tests in all the places we need to be.”

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense will invest $ 650 million to expand testing in K-8 schools and “underserved congregation environments like homeless shelters,” the White House said. It added that HHS will set up regional coordination centers to organize the distribution of the test materials and will work with laboratories across the country, including universities and commercial laboratories, to conduct tests.

HHS and DOD will also invest $ 815 million to increase domestic manufacturing of testing supplies and raw materials that have created bottlenecks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will invest an additional $ 200 million in their genome sequencing efforts to track new variants of the coronavirus in the United States. The CDC will increase its sequencing efforts from 7,000 samples per week to about 25,000 per week, the White House said.

Johnson said the funding was meant to increase testing in the short term, but urged Congress to pass President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion aid package, which includes testing funding.

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