Biden's new COVID mitigation 'a drop in the bucket': Admiral Giroir

Former assistant Health & Human Services secretary gives Biden a C-minus for his COVID address to the nation

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President Biden's current COVID mitigation actions and strategy is simply a proverbial "drop in the bucket," former Assistant Health & Human Services Secretary Adm. Brett Giroir told Fox News on Tuesday.

Giroir, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force in the early days of the pandemic, told "The Story" the Biden-Harris administration has been woefully shortsighted and unprepared when it comes to testing for coronavirus.

At-home tests such as those from Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories are facing shortages and reports of price spikes in New York State and elsewhere as holiday travelers are required to test before non-domestic trips, while other Americans are seeking verification before gathering with family.

Giroir said the most important prevention is to be vaccinated, even with increases in breakthrough cases.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 31: Admiral Brett Giroir, U.S. assistant secretary for health (R), and Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 31: Admiral Brett Giroir, U.S. assistant secretary for health (R), and Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images)

He said Biden failed to offer a true strategy for the planned 500 million new tests, such as how to triage them to the neediest populations, adding that the White House still refuses to speak at length about proven therapeutics such as monoclonal antibody treatments or a new pill from New Jersey-based Merck.

"I’d give [Biden] a C-minus on this address," he said. "He certainly had some important messages. I do want to emphasize that whether you’ve been infected before or had two vaccines, with omicron, it’s important to be vaccinated.

"Everything else is really I think a drop in the bucket. 500 million tests over how many months -- is that going to be done? There’s no triage about who should get the tests? We clearly need to allocate them to the most needed. At the end of the Trump administration, we did 180 million free tests. The only reason why we’re in such a problem right now is that the Biden administration did not invest in testing between January and September."

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden call Al Roker while watching NBC Today's 95th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden call Al Roker while watching NBC Today's 95th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. (White House)

Giroir said President Trump's team projected one billion consumer COVID tests would be needed by summer 2021. When the demand "fell off", he said, neither the Biden administration nor the state governorships put the needed funds toward boosting the supply for the future.

"So there was no advancement. Instead of a billion tests, we have 400 million, which is why we’re so behind," he said.

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"Given the fact that we’re behind, sending to it anybody that wants it is important. We should target the people that are vulnerable even with vaccines. Those are the elderly. They’re all on Medicare. Those with comorbid conditions. We’ll have to target them until we get a billion or two billion per month, and this program makes more sense."

"There is a lack of urgency," Giroir added. "You never hear the administration talk about monoclonal antibodies or the oral medicines. The one from Merck has been at the FDA for weeks. It can reduce hospitalizations by up to 50% in all comers who are at high risk."

He called on the FDA – currently led by Acting Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock while Biden's nominee Robert Califf faces a confirmation process – to authorize the Merck medication under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) as the vaccine injections have been.

"It needs to be part of our armamentarium," Giroir said. "These types of pills will work against omicron, delta, all the variants. They’re very important."