Jen Psaki’s scornful response to the idea of free at-home tests reflects just how shortsighted the U.S. government’s response to Covid-19 still is.
It was the press briefing heard ’round the internet. A reporter asked Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, if the United States would make rapid tests widely available for free or at reduced cost, as other countries have done. “Should we just send one to every American?” Psaki joked, smiling. “How much does that cost, and then what happens after that?” With cases rising and the new omicron variant cropping up in the U.S. ahead of the holidays, Psaki ridiculing the notion of free tests landed poorly.
She was right about one thing only: We shouldn’t send one free rapid test to every American. We should send dozens of free rapid tests to every American, and free, high-quality masks, too. Testing and masking are among the most important measures for blunting surges of the coronavirus; they should be so easy and accessible that people would feel weird not using them. The costs of continuing in this pandemic far outweigh the price of federally funded tests and masks (which, incidentally, will also be cheaper procured in bulk by the government than if purchased individually). Read more at The New Republic.
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