With coronavirus cases rising again, frustrated Americans are struggling to get tested days before Christmas as long lines and increased demand overwhelm some facilities across the country.
The catalyst was the rapid spread of the Omicron variety, which in a matter of weeks has become the dominant species in the US and has led to a whole host of new measures to contain the spread.
With millions of trips or plans to participate in large family gatherings, there is a rush to get tested – and many people have no luck either with testing in clinics or buying test kits for the home.
Long lines were seen this week in New York City, Boston and Miami, as well as Ohio and Minnesota.
At the same time, CVS Health and Walgreens — the two largest pharmaceutical retail chains in the US — are limiting the number of Covid home kits customers can purchase due to high demand, they announced.
Demand will only increase, says Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
“We’ll have to do some testing. But what we’re going to need, I think, over the next two to eight weeks will be remarkable. We’re going to see this big increase across the country,” he predicted.
And while the Biden administration plans to conduct 500 million new tests next month, the holiday test wave is happening now.
A former assistant secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services is concerned that the joint pledge on testing will not meet demand, he said.
“Unless we have a billion or two billion a month, I think we’re still going to have to be selective about making sure that people who can die from the disease don’t die from the disease,” Adm. dr. Brett Giroir told DailyExpertNews.
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