Even some of President Joe Biden’s own allies are now criticizing him for his response to the emergence of the omicron variant of COVID-19.
A new report from Reuters suggests those closest to Biden are turning their backs on him in the wake of new surges of the coronavirus. It all comes just after Biden announced that the federal government has purchased and will distribute 500 million at-home coronavirus test kits to Americans.
The Biden administration has also upped its pressure on the unvaccinated to roll up their sleeves since omicron hit American shores. Thus far, however, the president has resisted imposing new vaccine mandates in light of the variant.
“A small drop in the bucket”
Among those who have criticized Biden for his handling of the pandemic is Anne Rimoin, a UCLA professor of epidemiology. She praised Biden’s decision to distribute the at-home coronavirus tests, but she said Biden is “woefully” behind the curve.
“Unfortunately, it’s late in coming and will be a small drop in the bucket compared to the tsunami of cases on the horizon,” Rimoin said, according to Reuters. “We need those tests now.”
Joshua Salomon, Stanford University professor of health policy, told Reuters that he would have liked to have seen the Biden administration do more.
“There’s a tidal wave of infection coming, and I would have liked to see the president emphasize that all of us — whether vaccinated or boosted or unvaccinated — can do more to minimize transmission risks,” he said.
Others Biden allies suggested the reason Biden is not doing more is that he is trying to avoid a political backlash.
The White House plays defense
Biden seemed to agree with some of this criticism during an interview on Wednesday on ABC News.
“I wish I had thought about ordering a half a billion pills two months ago before COVID hit here,” the president said, according to Fox News. Biden, of course, meant to say “tests.” At the same time, however, Biden said that he doesn’t think his approach has been a failure.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also fought back against those claims this week, highlighting the administration’s track record with regard to testing. She noted that testing for COVID-19 has quadrupled in the U.S. over the past four months.
The question that is not being answered is how testing really helps. It certainly does not appear to have slowed the coronavirus down any.