As COVID-19 cases surged, U.S. President Joe Biden addressed the rapid testing shortage in the United States during a meeting Monday with state governors.
While conceding that efforts to increase test availability have fallen short, he said he would invoke the Defense Production Act to ramp up test production.
He also said Google would make it easier for Americans to find tests.
“Seeing how tough it was for some folks to get a test this weekend shows that we have more work to do,” Biden said. “It’s clearly not enough. If we’d known, we would’ve gone harder and quicker if we could have.”
Demand for testing has grown rapidly as the omicron variant spreads.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. recorded more than 240,000 cases Wednesday, far higher than last January’s surge.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican who attended the meeting, told Biden the lack of testing was a “real challenge.”
He added that more test availability is key to children returning to school safely.
Biden told governors that the surge in cases could stretch other resources such as hospital beds and ventilators.
The president said that there was “no federal solution” to the COVID-19 crisis and that “this gets solved at the state level.”
He also urged against panicking over the rising cases.
“This is not like March of 2020,” he said. “We’re prepared and we know what it takes to save lives, protect people, and keep schools and businesses open. We just have to stay focused and continue to work together.”
Some information for this report came from Reuters and The Associated Press.