President Biden on Tuesday tried to dodge responsibility for the inability of Americans to have easy access to testing.
When asked what took so long to ramp up testing, Biden snapped, “C’mon, what took so long? What took so long is it didn’t take long at all. What happened was the Omicron virus spread more rapidly than anybody thought.”
To be clear, for months, health experts have expected a winter surge of Covid, which would make sense given that we had a significant one last year. This was pretty clear well before Omicron.
One could argue as to whether the president should truly be responsible for lines at testing centers or the difficulty of getting rapid at-home tests in areas with high levels of transmission. But the problem with Biden making this argument is that he ran explicitly on the idea that he would not be caught off-guard by Covid like Donald Trump.
Early on in the pandemic, the testing was barely existent, giving us limited understanding of the prevalence of the virus and the places where it was starting to spread. A big reason was that the Centers for Disease Control required that labs use the testing kits CDC developed, but those tests turned out to be junk. Democrats seized on the failure of testing to score points against Trump. And Biden led the way.
“The administration’s failure on testing is colossal and it’s a failure of planning, leadership, and execution,” Biden said at a March 2020 speech.
Biden ran as being the guy who would be ahead of the curve on Covid due to his vast experience and his handling of Ebola. So he cannot plausibly dodge responsibility by claiming the surge was unexpectedly rapid.
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