Updated Jul 22, 2021 - Health

White House boosts funding for COVID testing in vulnerable communities

Person getting a COVID test in their car
A nasal swab COVID-19 test. Photo: Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group

The White House announced Thursday that it will invest $1.6 billion to support COVID-19 testing and mitigation efforts in vulnerable communities.

Why it matters: COVID-19 cases are up 55% across the U.S., with some “breakthrough” infections occurring among vaccinated people. However, the rising tide of cases, driven largely by the Delta variant, and hospitalizations are mainly a threat to those who aren’t vaccinated.

Details: The money, part of the American Rescue Plan, will be directed toward COVID testing in high-risk settings like prisons and homeless and domestic violence shelters, a Health and Human Services official told Axios.

  • Testing rates in the U.S. have been decreasing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even as overall hospitalizations increase.

The big picture: Vaccination rates have stalled and experts fear public resistance to a return to mask mandates.

  • Last week, the Biden administration announced nearly $400 million in funding for small rural hospitals for testing and isolating infection rates.
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