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U.S. government may request more COVID-19 testing funds By Reuters


© Reuters. People wait in line to take coronavirus illness (COVID-19) exams at pop-up testing web site in New York City, U.S., December 14, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Ahmed Aboulenein

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s administration may request extra funds from Congress for COVID-19 testing, relying on the severity of the Omicron variant, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra stated on Tuesday.

The division has $10 billion left in federal reduction funds for testing from the $50 billion made accessible by Congress again in March, however would possibly want more, Becerra stated at a gathering with reporters.

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“Are we going to have more than $10 billion value of wants and prices? (With) COVID, particularly relating to testing, there is a robust probability we are going to, relying on, once more, the place Omicron takes us,” he stated.

Becerra stated eventual want would rely on the influence of Omicron.

“If now we have Omicron the best way now we have Delta? You can kind of see the place this goes. The president stated we have to simply keep forward of this. So we do not wish to be asking Congress for cash after we all know we’d like it,” he stated.

“How do you telegraph one thing like that? When you do not but know what Omicron does? But our of us are attempting to crunch that, we’re making an attempt to make all these totally different projections proper now.”

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As a part of Biden’s technique to battle the Omicron and Delta variants over the winter, the government is requiring non-public well being insurers to reimburse their 150 million clients for the price of over-the-counter and at-home COVID-19 exams beginning in January. The government is not going to reimburse the insurers, a White House official stated.

The United States will buy more antiviral therapies within the coming months to deal with the unfold of Omicron, Becerra stated, including that particulars will likely be introduced quickly.

“In phrases of therapeutics … we’re beefing up,” he stated. “We’re making an attempt to see what Omicron does by way of these totally different therapeutics and what might work, and we’re ginning up, we’re getting ready. Stay tuned for bulletins on the place we are going to go, and it is all being dialed as we communicate.”

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