Biden admits administration fell short on COVID-19 testing

Biden defends presidency, blames Republicans for stalled agenda

Congressional correspondent Jacqui Heinrich breaks down Biden’s press conference on ‘Special Report.’

President Biden admitted that his administration could have worked more quickly to ensure that COVID-19 tests were more readily available to the American people.

“Should we have done more testing earlier?” Biden said during a press conference at the White House on Wednesday. “Yes, but we’re doing more now.”

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022.
(Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In recent months, the Biden administration has faced criticism over how it has handled the need for coronavirus tests nationwide. A Dec. 23 report from Vanity Fair — which Biden has denied — claimed the administration rejected a plan to boost COVID testing in October.

Last month, during a meeting with governors, Biden made similar remarks when it came to testing capacities across the country. 

“It’s not enough. It’s clearly not enough. If we’d have known, we’d have gone harder, quicker if we could have,” Biden said.

Biden promised on the campaign trail that he would “massively surge a nationwide campaign and guarantee regular, reliable, and free access to testing for all.” That was not the case over the holidays, with pharmacies running out of rapid tests and hours-long lines at free testing locations nationwide.

Nurse Ray Akindele processes COVID-19 rapid antigen tests at a testing site in Long Beach , Calif., Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

As the administration now works to fulfill the demand for COVID-19 tests amid the spread of the omicron variant, it launched a website on Tuesday that allows Americans to request up to four free COVID-19 tests that will be shipped in coordination with the United States Postal Service.

While the administration claims the tests will ship later this month, a pilot test for the program revealed glitches, according to social media users, including for residents of apartment buildings and people who receive their mail at post office boxes.

President Joe Biden answers questions during a news conference in the East Room of the White House on January 19, 2022 in Washington, D.C.
( Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“COVID-19 is not going to go away immediately,” Biden told reporters. “But I’m not going to give up and accept things as they are now. Some people may call what’s happening now the new normal, but I call it a job not yet finished. It will get better.”

The administration also announced this week that it will begin to distribute 400 million free N95 masks to Americans next week.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson and Julia Musto contributed to this article.

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