Biden Administration Banks On At-Home Covid Testing
The White House announced measures to try to overcome shortages, including a $70 million investment to aid manufacturers in getting their rapid tests through the federal approvals process. Other health news from the Biden administration reports on rental aid, transgender health, cancer and the mystery symptoms hitting U.S. diplomats.
The Washington Post:
Biden Administration Looks To Speed Authorization Of Rapid Coronavirus Tests
The Biden administration announced additional steps on Monday to increase the availability of rapid at-home coronavirus tests and bring down their cost. The biggest change is a $70 million investment by the National Institutes of Health — using funds from the American Rescue Plan, which was passed earlier this year — to help manufacturers navigate the Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory process. The NIH program aims to speed up the authorization process for new tests by helping manufacturers produce the data regulators need. It will also identify rapid tests that have the potential to be produced and distributed on a large scale. (Abutaleb, 10/25)
Push For Home-Based Tests Offers Benefits But Makes Tracking Cases Difficult
More people may soon be testing for Covid-19 right from their very own homes. The Biden administration announced ramped-up efforts Monday to make rapid at-home tests more widely available, while also lowering costs. Covid-19 has been a part of life in the U.S. for more than a year and a half, but the co-founder of one testing company says right now demand for at-home Covid tests is up. “At-home testing is at an all-time peak,” Jason Feldman, co-founder and CEO of Vault Health, said. “It's largely been because employers are bringing their employees back into the office, or they want to, and then we have schools and universities that are trying to keep kids in class.” (Caffrey, 10/25)
The Government Is Fixing The Federal Rental Aid Program, But Funds Are Still Slow To Reach Renters
The Biden administration is greasing the wheels of the struggling federal rental aid program, but many renters are still being left out. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program was born out of the Covid relief bill that Congress passed in December to help low- and moderate-income households behind on their rent and utilities. In the early months of the program, the money was slow to flow; federal data show that the pace of emergency rental aid going to tenants has increased in recent months. However, experts said, renters continue to face major hurdles, including technology barriers, overcomplicated rules in different states and cities, long wait times and burdensome processes. (Clark, 10/26)
Dallas Morning News:
White House Meets With LGBTQ Youth, Advocates And Elected Officials On Texas Anti-Trans Bills
As Texas and other states pass new limits on transgender students in schools that advocates say are harmful, Texas Democrats say federal legislation could be warranted to help protect them. With Gov. Greg Abbott signing a bill into law Monday that restricts transgender student athletes from playing on school sports teams that align with their gender identity, Texas now joins at least five other states that have passed similar measures in recent months, according to the Associated Press. “Without having some kind of federal intervention that’s going to protect the LGBTQ community, but especially trans kids… I just foresee that our rights and trans kids are going to continue being attacked,” State Rep. Jessica González of Dallas said Monday. (Caldwell, 10/25)
Jill Biden: Cancer 'Touches Every American Family'
First lady Jill Biden on Monday toured a cancer center in the state that played a pivotal role in her husband’s victory in the 2020 Democratic nominating process, telling South Carolinians that cancer “touches every American family. ”In the closing days of October — a month dedicated to breast cancer awareness — the first lady said she was making the trip as part of a continued commitment to pushing for research efforts toward a cure. (Kinnard, 10/25)
State Department Tested Diplomats For 'Directed Energy Exposure' Years Before Telling Congress
The State Department was zeroing in on directed-energy weapons as a possible source of U.S. diplomats’ mysterious brain injuries more than two years before detailing those suspicions to members of Congress, according to documents obtained by POLITICO. As early as mid-2018, the State Department was administering its own internal medical tests specifically designed to evaluate patients who experienced “directed energy exposure” on foreign soil, according to two victims’ disclosure forms for the examinations. Both of their test results led to their immediate return to the U.S. (Desiderio and Seligman, 10/25)