The US president Joe Biden’s plans to deliver 500 million at-home Covid testing kits to Americans for free. However, the plan seems to take months to execute fully, suggested the seven manufacturers the government has contracted with.
To overcome the massive Covid testing shortage in the country, the government, contracted for the initial two batches, announced on Friday. The first batch deal was closed at 13.3 million from a renowned health care company, while the second was from a distribution firm in Virginia at an undisclosed amount.
Although an official from the White House revealed to the ABC news that the government’s 500 million spending promise on Covid testing will take two more weeks to fulfill, the cumbersome process does not seem to offer a quick fix to the problem.
As per the current reports, free tests won’t be available until the end of the current month. That comprehends that an average US resident is unlikely to receive the test before the Covid peak in January, as forecasted by most models.
In the first week of January 2022, the US solely has reported around 4.1 million omicron cases – making the highest rate recorded in a span of a week to date.
Meanwhile, the soaring cases increased the need for more testing kits to keep the employees at work and children in schools.
In an interview with the seven top FDA-approved companies providing home-testing kits, “each producing anywhere from a few million to 200 million tests per month,” said the companies.
“But that total supply is intended for all customers, including pharmacies and grocery stores, not solely for the government.”
Dr. Michael Mina, who works as a chief science officer for eMed, one of the health care companies producing rapid test kits, said, “We expect to see around 100 to 200 million tests distributed in the month after the website launches” a rough estimate he made on the basis of discussions with the manufacturers.
Till February 2022, rapid test kits from the newly authorized health care companies are expected to land the market and contribute to the government’s test kit’s supply by tens of millions. However, it will still take more than 30 days for testing companies to fulfill the rest of the government’s promise of half a billion kits.