Biden: We'll buy 500M more tests and get them to you ... sometime

Biden: We'll buy 500M more tests and get them to you ... sometime

This stretches the horses/barn-door axiom to an absurd degree, no? Joe Biden began imposing vaccination-or-testing mandates late last summer, almost six months ago. The autumn Delta-cum-Omicron wave began around Thanksgiving. And only now will Joe Biden act to get enough tests to manage both mandates and a wave that may well be over by the time the first tranche arrives:

President Biden on Thursday said he was directing his staff to purchase an additional 500 million coronavirus tests for distribution to Americans, doubling the government’s previous purchase as his administration scrambles to respond to the highly contagious Omicron variant.

The announcement, which came when Mr. Biden delivered remarks on the pandemic, brings to one billion the total number of tests to be given away free of charge.

“That will mean a billion tests in total to meet future demand,” Mr. Biden said. “And we’ll continue to work with the retailers and online retailers to increase availability.”

But it is unclear when the tests will be available. Mr. Biden announced the first batch of 500 million tests just before Christmas, and the first batch from that announcement will not start being delivered until later this month, according to White House officials. Details about how Americans can request those tests, including a government-run test website, are slated to be unveiled on Friday.

That’s not the only thing unclear in this announcement. Biden sounded tired and distracted through most of it, and kept having trouble following the teleprompter:

His performance isn’t exactly a confidence-builder, and neither is the timing and ambiguity. The time to goose test production was either before or at the same time the White House started promulgating the workplace mandates that involve testing options, not six months later. Biden and his team had all year to address test production, an issue that his campaign highlighted as a Donald Trump failure during the second half of 2020, and yet did so little that Jen Psaki openly scoffed in early December at the proposal that Biden now made official today. Talk about circling back …

The same problem attains to Biden’s new push for effective masks, long after his administration pushed for more masking in public places and work environments:

President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the government will double to 1 billion the rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests to be distributed free to Americans, along with the most protective N95 masks, as he highlighted his efforts to “surge” resources to help the country weather the spike in coronavirus cases. …

Biden also announced that for the first time his administration was planning to make “high-quality” N95 masks, which are most effective at preventing transmission of the virus, available for free. He said his administration would announce details next week.

The federal government has a stockpile of more than 750 million N95 masks, the White House said this week. And though research has shown those masks to be better protection, they are often more uncomfortable, and health officials are not altering their guidance to recommend against less-protective cloth masks.

Ahem. How long have we known that cloth masks offer only minimal mitigation for viruses in general and are all but useless against COVID-19 and its variants? We should have learned that lesson by mid-2020. How long have we been aware that N95 production would be critical for pandemic response? Since March 2020, at least. What has the Biden administration done on that front for the past year? Diddly-squat until now, when it has become clear that American voters are abandoning Biden and Democrats in droves over their incompetence.

Now they want to distribute tests and masks in the next several weeks, at about the same time that the Omicron wave will likely have petered out entirely. Those might come in handy for a subsequent wave and variant, assuming that (a) one arises that punctures Omicron’s immune-response impact and vaccinations, and (b) the tests actually work on the next variant. This response isn’t a day late and a dollar short — it’s a year late and a trillion or so dollars short from Biden’s March 2021 inflationary COVID-19 bill.

In other words, this is entirely reactive, and exposes — again — the complete inability of Biden and his team to think strategically on any issue, even when the strategies are this obvious. All this does now is highlight how badly Biden has failed, and how out of touch he has been all along.

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