White House announces plans to double COVID-19 tests for schools

pharmafile | January 12, 2022 | News story | Research and Development  

The Biden administration announced new plans to increase COVID-19 protection in schools in the US, as the Omicron variant continues to spread at alarming rates throughout the country, according to Reuters.

On Monday 10 January, the US reported 1.35 million new COVID-19 cases, shattering the global record for daily cases in any one country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Omicron is now estimated to account for 98.3% of total new cases circulating in the country.

The widespread circulation of Omicron has made it increasingly difficult for students and teachers to safely return to school. To combat this, the White House said in a statement that the number of COVID-19 tests available to schools will be increased by 10 million per month. This will help schools more than double the volume of testing, compared to November 2021.

This decision comes as some school districts move to virtual classes again to escape the Omicron wave. Republicans have said that the Biden administration has not previously done enough to address the issue.

The White House, alongside top health officials, have announced that 500 million rapid tests will be available free to all Americans in January.

In 2021, the CDC endorsed a test-to-stay strategy, which allowed schools to use frequent testing to keep students in class after exposure to someone with COVID-19, as an alternative to mandatory quarantine. The agency plans to release additional materials to help schools implement this strategy.

Lina Adams

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