The Biden administration will spend $ 1.6 billion to ramp up coronovirus testing and sequencing – including $ 650 million for testing in K-8 schools.
Speaking to reporters during a coronovirus briefing, officials said that while the administration was working to make as many vaccinations as possible, a “robust test” operation was needed to keep public health more safe .
“We need to test broadly and rapidly to turn the tide of this epidemic. But we still don’t have enough testing and we don’t have enough testing in all those places, said White House COVID-19 supply coordinator Carroll Johnson.
As part of the strategy, President Biden will sign a series of executive functions and orders that will authorize spending.
Through the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense, the federal government will spend $ 650 million funding for testing in elementary and middle schools, as well as homeless shelters.
The two agencies will also spend $ 815 million to boost production of raw materials and test supplies.
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will allocate $ 200 million for “identifying, tracking, and emerging emerging” type strains of the virus through genome sequencing.
Biden has pressured to use his influence to bring more children back to school around the country, and said at a CNN town hall Tuesday night that he would still hold back the majority of K-8 schools by the end of April. Aims to open from.
The CDC stated in the guidelines issued last week that schools can safely start classes if they screen regularly for viruses.
On Wednesday, it was asked about the reopening of in-class classes for all K-12 students – rather than just young children – CDC director Drs. Rochelle Wallensky argued that this is harder because juveniles are more likely to contract the virus.
“We know as children age, as they get closer to adolescence, that they act in the same disease as adults. In terms of transmission they are increased vectors and they become increasingly ill compared to younger children. Happen, ”replied Valensky.
“So we have to be a little more cautious with our high school kids because they act differently from children who are really young.”
Valensky argued that it was harder to group younger students together in fewer numbers because it was for younger grades.
“One of our key mitigation strategies is to try and make small coitus of children very difficult to assimilate to high school children,” he said, noting that the mix of students varied for an authentic high school experience Classes are required.
But, she noted, the CDC guidance is “opportunities to open high school and middle school if you can follow all the nausea strategies.”
Valensky added between this week and last, the number of schools currently in the “Red Zone” for the virus – which comes with strict guidelines – was reduced from 90 to 75 percent.
“The less the community spread there, the more we do to reduce the amount of disease in the community, the more opportunities there are for our children to get back into the middle and high school range,” she said.
The country’s leading infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci said over the weekend that it would be “optimal”, but it is not necessary for all teachers to be vaccinated before returning to class.
Earlier on Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris reiterated questions about the CDC’s guidelines, saying that opening the doors to schools is the administration’s priority.