U.S. authorities might request extra COVID-19 testing funds By Reuters

© Reuters. Individuals wait in line to take coronavirus illness (COVID-19) exams at pop-up testing website in New York Metropolis, U.S., December 14, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Ahmed Aboulenein

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s administration might request further funds from Congress for COVID-19 testing, relying on the severity of the Omicron variant, U.S. Secretary of Well being and Human Providers Xavier Becerra stated on Tuesday.

The division has $10 billion left in federal reduction funds for testing from the $50 billion made out there by Congress again in March, however would possibly want extra, Becerra stated at a gathering with reporters.

“Are we going to have greater than $10 billion price of wants and prices? (With) COVID, particularly concerning testing, there is a sturdy likelihood we’ll, relying on, once more, the place Omicron takes us,” he stated.

Becerra stated eventual want would rely on the influence of Omicron.

“If we have now Omicron the way in which we have now Delta? You possibly can form of see the place this goes. The president stated we have to simply keep forward of this. So we do not need to be asking Congress for cash after we all know we want it,” he stated.

“How do you telegraph one thing like that? When you do not but know what Omicron does? However our of us try to crunch that, we’re attempting to make all these completely different projections proper now.”

As a part of Biden’s technique to struggle the Omicron and Delta variants over the winter, the federal government is requiring personal well being insurers to reimburse their 150 million clients for the price of over-the-counter and at-home COVID-19 exams beginning in January. The federal government is not going to reimburse the insurers, a White Home official stated.

America will buy extra antiviral remedies within the coming months to deal with the unfold of Omicron, Becerra stated, including that particulars might be introduced quickly.

“By way of therapeutics … we’re beefing up,” he stated. “We’re attempting to see what Omicron does by way of these completely different therapeutics and what might work, and we’re ginning up, we’re getting ready. Keep tuned for bulletins on the place we’ll go, and it is all being dialed as we communicate.”

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