Speaking at a meeting of the White House COVID-19 response team and the National Governors Association, President Biden touted the White House's efforts to increase the availability of at-home tests, but acknowledged, "It’s clearly not enough.”
JOE BIDEN: The second thing we're doing is more testing. Seeing how tough it was for some folks to get a test this weekend shows that we have more work to do, and we're doing it. First, let's talk about how we got here.
When I took office 10 months into the-- we were 10 months into the pandemic. And even so, we had no, zero, over-the-counter home tests in the United States-- none. And if you wanted to get one and get a test, you had to go to a clinic or a drugstore to have someone give you the test. And there very few places to go.
So we got to work. We quadrupled the number of pharmacies offering a free test, and there are now more than 20,000 places where you can get tested for free. At many locations, you can book an appointment online in advance to minimize your wait. We've worked with Google, so you can now search "COVID test near me" on Google to find a location.
And now, I know the lines have gotten very long in some states. That's why I ordered FEMA to set up pop-up sites in places with high demand to shorten the wait. We set up six new sites in New York City in five days and there are more coming.
For over-the-counter, at-home tests, as I said, there were none when we took office-- none. Now we have eight on the market. And just three days ago, another test was cleared.
We went from no over-the-counter tests in January to 46 million in October, 100 million in November, and almost 200 million in December. But it's not enough. It's clearly not enough. If we'd known, we would have gotten harder quicker if we could have because steps will have to be taken to increase the number of authorized tests.
We're now able to purchase 500 million at-home, rapid tests to be sent to the American people for free when requested. And we're going to continue to use the Defense Production Act to produce as many tests as possible. And starting in two weeks, private insurance will reimburse you for the cost of at-home tests.
We're providing access to free tests for folks who don't have insurance. But we have to do more. We have to do better, and we will.