Days after US President Joe Biden admitted that his administration was struggling to cope with the demand for COVID-19 tests, Dr Anthony Fauci on Sunday said that the US needed “to do better” at providing at-home rapid COVID-19 test kits to everyone in need.

Speaking to ABC anchor Jonathan Karl on ‘This Week’, the Chief Medical Advisor to the President said, “We’ve obviously got to do better. I mean, I think things will improve greatly as we get into January, but that doesn’t help us today and tomorrow.”

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Dr Fauci also warned that COVID-19 cases in the US would see a sharp surge, courtesy of the highly transmissible omicron variant, saying, “Every day it goes up and up, the last weekly average was about 150,000, and it likely will go much higher.” Given this situation, he added that testing would be of tremendous importance in attempts to contain the spread of the disease.

Dr Fauci’s concern comes at a time when the omicron variant is driving case counts up in the US, causing massive disruptions to the daily lives of people. On Saturday, as many as 996 flights were cancelled on account of concerns over the spread of COVID-19, and as of midday Sunday, 717 domestic and international flights have been cancelled.

Taking cognizance of the situation, President Biden had announced days earlier that his administration would purchase 500 million at-home rapid COVID-19 tests by January, and that private insurance would cover the cost of these tests, which can be booked online.

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Experts, however, have criticised the Biden administration over its handling of the pandemic. Former Harvard professor and current Brown University School of Public Health Dean Dr Ashish Jha told Fox News on Sunday that he was “disappointed that this is where we are as a country right now.”

“I think both on omicron and delta, the administration has not done enough on getting ready through testing and through its communications. So the two places where I would say the administration needs to do a better job — communicating more effectively with the American people and certainly making testing much, much more widely available,” the senior physician said, adding that he expects the situation to improve when the Biden administration ramps up its testing capacity in January.