Senator Warren introduces a invoice without cost Covid checks for lecturers and key staff
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) departs after a vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, United States, on September 22, 2020.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters
Senator Elizabeth Warren is pushing for laws that allow teachers, students, key workers, and others highly exposed to the coronavirus to have free Covid tests and expand federal government-funded screening efforts in the United States
The 2020 COVID-19 Testing Capacity Expansion Act would require the Department of Health and Human Services to “stabilize the test supply chain” by producing tests and test supplies or to find contractors who can do it for the agency, said Warren on Tuesday.
“People at Highest Risk for COVID-19”, such as B. Key workers, students, teachers, prisoners, nursing home residents and employees would be guaranteed free tests under the law. State and local officials will identify suitable locations, including schools, nursing homes, homeless shelters and factories for the federal government, which would then provide the tests, the bill says.
The bill would also guarantee testing for federal employees unable to be socially distant or teleworking, and allocate an additional $ 25 billion to state, local, territorial and tribal testing systems.
While the testing capacity of Covid-19 in the US has improved dramatically and new types of tests have hit the market, there have still been delays and bottlenecks in processing. The bill would use federal funds to help companies move ahead with their test manufacturing and to secure supplies like swabs and pipette tips that are needed to quickly process many Covid tests.
“It has been a long time since the federal government made real efforts to control and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and investing in and implementing aggressive testing measures is a crucial part of that effort,” said Warren, D-Mass Statement. “High quality and frequent COVID-19 tests should be readily available to all Americans. So I am glad to be introducing laws to ensure our nation has expanded access to federally funded testing.”
The bill says that state and local officials would determine how often tests would be conducted for eligible individuals, but would be made available free of charge to eligible individuals. Some of the funds would be used to recruit staff to assist with test administration and analysis, with recruitment from local communities being preferred where possible.
Public health officials including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said a massive increase in the availability of tests could help identify so-called silent carriers of the virus and cut chains of spread. President-elect Joe Biden published his goal of ensuring that “anyone who needs a test can get one – and that testing is free for those who need it”.
The bill would also require the Food and Drug Administration to issue a series of new reports and guidelines that would help expedite the creation of new types of tests and explain to local officials how to create effective testing programs.
“For many months, in view of the devastation caused by the pandemic, doctors have been calling for federal assistance to facilitate more comprehensive testing,” said Dr. David Rosman, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, in a statement. “A strong national test framework is an important component of an optimal COVID-19 mitigation strategy, and we welcome Senator Warren for her leadership in bringing this thoughtful bill into motion.”