Speaking to governor's today about Covid, President Joe Biden claimed that "there is no federal solution" to delivering more wide-spread testing. It was last year that Biden vowed to "shut down the virus."
"We got to beat it back before we shut it down. Look, it's going to take time worldwide. In order to be COVID, we have to shut it down worldwide," he said as he announced new federal measures to beat back the scourge.
"Look, there is no federal solution," Biden said in response to a question from Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. "This gets solved at the state level."
"I'm looking at Governor Sununu [New Hampshire]," Biden continued, "on the board here. He talks about that a lot. And then ultimately it gets down to where the rubber meets the road and that's where the patient is in need of help, or preventing the need for help."
Hutchinson said that hospitalizations are down in Arkansas, and that they have "sufficient tests" to be able to expand testing at schools. But, he cautioned, "as governors are getting pressure to do more and the need is great to do more in terms of the rapid tests and the availability of it," and Biden "looks towards federal solutions that will help alleviate the challenge, make sure that we do not let federal solutions stand in the way of state solutions."
Hutchinson's concern is that as the federal government ramps up their purchase of tests, there will be less tests for states to purchase to meet the needs of their population.
Biden thanked the governors for their efforts, and urged them to understand that "Omicron is a source of concern, but it should not be a source of panic. If you're fully vaccinated, you get your booster shot, and you're highly protected. If you're unvaccinated, you're at a high risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19 been hospitalized and a rare cases even dying."
"This is not like March of 2020, the beginning of the pandemic," Biden said. "We're prepared and we know what it takes to save lives, protect people and keep schools and businesses open. We just have to stay focused and continue to work together. My message to the governor is simple. If you need something, say something and we were going to have your back and any way we can."