Vanity Fair: Biden put all his eggs in the vaccination basket …

Lacked the imagination for an Operation Warp Speed for testing and therapeutic drugs.

Two must read articles:

Vanity Fair: The Biden Administration Rejected Proposals for “Free Rapid Tests for the Holidays”

WSJ: Big Pharma Success, Government Failure

Here’s a merged extract of the articles … both of which are worth reading in their entirety.


The essence

In January 2021, the incoming Biden Administration was sent a 23-page document outlining a national rapid-testing strategy that would enable the country to reopen safely even before the vaccine rollout was complete.

The document made a case for rapid testing as the most powerful tool to reduce transmission and case counts quickly.

Then, on October 22, a group of COVID-19 testing experts presented the Biden administration with a detailed strategy for overhauling America’s approach to testing.

The plan was to put rapid at-home COVID-19 testing into the hands of average citizens, allowing them to screen themselves in real time and thereby help reduce transmission.

The plan called for “Every American Household to Receive Free Rapid Tests for the Holidays/New Year.”

The big, bold idea for free home tests for all Americans to avoid a holiday surge, was killed by the Biden Administration.


The reasons:

> “The Biden Administration took a vaccine-only approach … and didn’t support the notion of testing as a proper mitigation tool or therapeutic oral antiviral drugs.”

The Administration has had a single-minded fixation on vaccinating Americans left testing and therapeutics on the back burner for so long.

The Administration feared that at home rapid tests and therapeutics might somehow signal to wary Americans that they could skip vaccinations.

Officials failed to foresee how vaccine efficacy would wane over time and demand would plateau. 

> The FDA dragged its feet vetting and approving at home tests … valuing “exquisite sensitivity, rather than “public health utility”.

“If our goal is defined as public health, every test run last year was practically useless.”

While rapid antigen tests are less accurate than PCR tests, they are “extremely sensitive for very contagious people” … when they’re at peak viral load, these tests approach 100 percent sensitivity.” Source

> Many doctors opposed in home testing, viewing patient test results as theirs alone to convey.

Some doctors had even opposed home testing for pregnancy and HIV, arguing that patients who learned on their own about a given condition would not be able to act on the information effectively.

> There wasn’t capacity to manufacture over-the-counter tests at the required scale.”

The plan required an estimated 732 million tests per month.

The capacity problem was twofold: The FDA had authorized only a handful of different home tests, and those it had authorized could not increase manufacturing fast enough.


Bottom line

> It wasn’t a matter of Biden not having thought ahead about the need for rapid tests (as he told ABC News on TV) … It was a matter of his team considering, and then rejecting, a plan to have hundreds of millions of home tests available now..

> Biden’s recently announced plan is widely regarded by experts (i.e. “the science”) as a totally inadequate “exemplar of too little, too late …

We need several billion tests and have needed them for over a year to help prevent spread.”

Advance government orders like Operation Warp Speed’s for vaccines would have accelerated production of anti-virals.”

> The Biden administration has lacked “the imagination to have an Operation Warp Speed-level programs for testing and therapeutics.”

“The White House, in baseball terms, is playing small ball. When it comes to rapid testing, they’re bunting the players along.”

“Vaccines have saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but many more lives would have been saved if anti-viral oral treatments were available sooner. The drugs represent a huge pharmaceutical success but a missed government opportunity.”

> So, as COVID-19 is exploding again, we’re stuck with “endless lines of desperate Americans clamoring for tests in order to safeguard holiday gatherings” … and, rationing of live-saving anti-viral drugs.

Local example: One of the most expansive urgent care chains in the Maryland-Virginia market restricts testing to symptomatic patients only … and warns patients of 6- hour wait times (in a waiting room with a hundred or so other symptomatic patients)


In Biden’s own words:

Anyone, anyone who needs to be tested should be tested at no charge, at no charge.

Tests should be available to all who need them and the government, the government should stop at nothing to make that happen.

No excuses should be made.

The administration’s failure on testing is colossal and it’s a failure of planning, leadership, and execution.”  

Oh yeah, that was in March 2020 in a blast against Trump.  Transcript

As Forrest Gump would say: “What goes around, comes around”

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