President Joe Biden admitted Tuesday he was caught off-guard by the sudden surge in coronavirus cases, promising to ramp up testing capacities quickly.
“Covid is spreading so rapidly, you notice, it just happened almost overnight, just in the last month,” Biden said.
The president denied he was responsible for the shortages in coronavirus testing, but acknowledged he was caught off-guard by the surge in the virus, fueled by the omicron variant.
“No it’s not a failure,” he said, when asked if he failed to provide enough tests. “But the alarm bell went off. I don’t think anybody anticipated that this was going to be as rapidly spreading as it did.”
Biden acknowledged that the holiday season and the spike in coronavirus cases was leading to long lines at testing centers.
“All of a sudden it was like everyone rushed to the counter. It was a big big rush,” Biden said.
When asked by a reporter what took so long to ramp up testing capacity, Biden grew frustrated.
“C’mon. What took so long,” he said bitterly. “What took so long is it didn’t take so long at all.”
He acknowledged that the omicron variant of the virus spread more rapidly and that if he predicted it four weeks ago, people would not have believed him.
“I think you would have looked at me and said, ‘Biden, what have you been drinking,'” he said.
Biden said more tests would be available in January, after purchasing half a billion tests to send to Americans who wanted them.
“That’s half a billion. With a ‘B,'” he said.