Omicron variant and coronavirus news

President Biden defended his administration’s actions on testing Tuesday, telling reporters that the shortage of tests in the US was “not a failure.”

“No it’s not,” the President responded to CNN’s Phil Mattingly, “because Covid is spreading so rapidly. We know this, it just happened almost overnight, it happened in the last month.”

Biden reiterated that while the lack of tests was “not a failure,” he admitted, “the alarms are going off.” 

“I don’t think anybody anticipated this would be as rapid at spreading as it did,” he said, “then all of the sudden it was like everybody rushed to the counter was a big, big rush.”

“I knew that was coming,” Biden insisted, “so what I tried to do was meet with the companies to use the Defense Production Act to get a half a billion more tests.” 

Asked by another reporter what took so long to ramp up production of tests, Biden seemed irritated at the question. 

“Come on, ‘what took so long?’,” he asked. “What took so long is it didn’t take long at all.”

“What happened was, the Omicron virus spread more rapidly than anyone thought,” he said. “If I told you four weeks ago that this would spread on a daily basis 50, 100%, 200% 500%, I think you look to me and say, ‘Biden, what are you drinking?’”

He said that while it’s not clear what’s going to happen with the variant, hospitals would not be in a position where they run out or run low on critical supplies.