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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.

Go deeper

Oct 30, 2021 - Health

Texas AG sues Biden administration over vaccine mandate for contractors

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas on July 11. Photo: Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration over its vaccine mandate for federal contractors, which requires vaccination against the coronavirus no later than Dec. 8.

What they're saying: The executive order is "a dramatic infringement upon individual liberties, principles of federalism and separation of powers, and the rule of law," according to the lawsuit, which was filed Friday evening in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Oct 29, 2021 - Health

Supreme Court declines to block enforcement of Maine's vaccine mandate for health workers

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday declined to block enforcement of Maine's COVID vaccine mandate for health care workers while they wait for the court of appeals to rule on the merits of the case.

Why it matters: The 6-3 decision in the emergency appeal was not made on the merits of the case. But in previous rulings, the justices have upheld COVID vaccine requirements — though this is the first case that involves a mandate without religious exemptions.

Oct 29, 2021 - Health

FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine for kids 5 to 11

A health care worker administering a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine to a child in Bingham Farms, Michigan, in May 2021. Photo: Emily Elconin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized Pfizer and BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine for children five to 11 years old.

Why it matters: All that remains to expand vaccine access to some of the youngest Americans is approval from the CDC.