One of those critics, Dr. Mara Aspinall, an expert in biomedical diagnostics at Arizona State University, called the president’s recent moves to expand testing “an important step forward,” and an essential acknowledgment of the importance of testing as a mitigation strategy.
The Coronavirus Pandemic: Key Things to Know
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Omicron in retreat. Though the U.S. is still facing overwhelmed hospitals and more than 2,000 deaths a day, encouraging signs are emerging as new cases start to fall nationally. The World Health Organization said the variant offered “plausible hope for stabilization.”
New York mask mandate. An appeals court judge granted a motion by the New York attorney general to temporarily block a lower-court ruling that had struck down the state’s mask mandate. The rule, which was renewed by Gov. Kathy Hochul in December and currently remains in effect, required masks or proof of vaccination at all indoor public places.
Around the world. The European Union recommended that residents traveling within the bloc who have been vaccinated or have recovered from the virus should not face additional restrictions like testing or quarantine. In China, officials reported a case within a bubble set up to insulate Olympic participants from the rest of the country.
Staying safe. Worried about spreading Covid? Keep yourself and others safe by following some basic guidance on when to test, which mask to pick and how to use at-home virus tests. Here is what to do if you test positive for the coronavirus.
“You’ve got to give them credit for getting this done in less than a month,” she said, while noting that the seven-to-12-day time frame “is not ideal.”
Testing has been a challenge for the federal government since the earliest days of the pandemic. Supply chain shortages made them hard to come by, and overloaded laboratories took days to process them. Mr. Biden, who came into office promising to ramp up testing, has made some progress in expanding the supply of rapid at-home tests. There were none available to American consumers when he took office.
But the Omicron wave has put intense pressure on the nation’s testing capacity. At-home tests began flying off pharmacy shelves and are now scarce in many parts of the country. At the same time, some consumers are confused about how to use them.
Administration officials sought to clear up some of that confusion on Friday, specifying three reasons people should use at-home tests: They begin to have symptoms of Covid-19; they were exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus five or more days earlier; or they are planning to gather indoors with someone at risk of Covid-19, and want to assure themselves they are negative.
Beyond limited availability, cost has been a major barrier in access to at-home tests. They are expensive: about $12 each, or $24 for a package of two.
The administration has pledged to ensure equitable distribution of the tests. A White House fact sheet said the government would place a high priority on getting tests to “households experiencing the highest social vulnerability and in communities that have experienced a disproportionate share of Covid-19 cases and deaths.”
Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/14/us/politics/covid-tests-free-biden.html742