There is an increased demand for COVID-19 testing because of the holiday season and the arrival of the omicron variant, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. And the United States has been vastly unprepared.
- “You know, testing has always been an issue. ... That has been problematic. It has been compounded by the situation of the high demands,” Fauci told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins in an interview Monday morning.
- “Obviously, not making any excuses for it: We should have had more tests available. But hopefully now as we get into the first couple of weeks in January, that’ll get much better,” he said.
According to Fauci, the reason you can’t find a test right now is there has been such high demand for tests because of the holiday season, travel preparations and the omicron wave.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says he recommends that people "stay away" from large New Year’s Eve gatherings where they don’t know the vaccination status of guests.— New Day (@NewDay) December 27, 2021
"There will be other years to do that, but not this year," he says.https://t.co/X6u5qGcrbn pic.twitter.com/5eaEpVfWhd
So when will tests be available? Fauci said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that the United States will have a shortage of COVID-19 tests into January.
- “We’ve obviously got to do better,” Fauci said. “I think things will improve greatly as we get into January, but that doesn’t help us today and tomorrow.”
Experts have said that COVID-19 testing is crucial to identifying cases numbers. The omicron variant specifically creates symptoms similar to the common cold, which means the COVID-19 test is the only thing that can differentiate between the two.
Per The Washington Post, the Biden administration said it planned to offer 500 million at-home tests for Americans across the country sometime in the next month.