During his Tuesday address to the nation on COVID-19, President Joe Biden was asked whether the delay in widespread distribution of at-home tests to Americans was a failure. The president responded that it wasn’t, adding "COVID is spreading so rapidly, if you notice, it just happened almost overnight in the last month."
Beyond being incorrect, it betrays a myopic view that the administration has of the country. Some states matter and some do not.
COVID has had a fairly predictable seasonal path. I’m not an epidemiologist or scientist, but I spent the fall months predicting a spike would soon come to New York. The COVID case numbers in September 2021 were matching pretty closely to the numbers in September of 2020.
So were the numbers in October and November. It wasn’t a tough call. So the idea that the Biden administration and top health officials were surprised by the omicron variant makes no sense. They should have known a seasonal spike was coming whether a new variant was introduced or not.
That they ignored that possibility is due to the fact that they believed COVID could be contained through behavioral changes. The south had its seasonal spike in the summer and fall. The Biden administration spent a lot of time criticizing governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis for their high case count.
No such criticism is forthcoming for governors like New York’s Kathy Hochul, Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf, New Jersey’s Phil Murphy or Maine’s Janet Mills—all Democrat leaders of states currently experiencing a spike in COVID cases.
Earlier this month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked why other countries were getting rapid tests into the hands of their citizens—quickly and at a low cost—but the Biden administration wasn’t able to pull off the same. Dripping with sarcasm, Psaki responded "Should we just send one to every American?" Now it appears that’s the administration will do exactly that.
The administration didn’t move to do that when it was "bad" southern states having spikes. It was a silly idea to get tests into homes until COVID started circulating in the "good" blue states again. The administration can’t continue to politicize the virus as it has. The Biden administration has to represent all of the states, even the ones it openly disdains.