Gottlieb says every household should have at-home COVID-19 tests

Gottlieb says every household should have at-home COVID-19 tests
© Stefani Reynolds

Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on Sunday that every household should have a supply of at-home COVID-19 tests as families consider their next steps on holiday gatherings this year.

“Look, I think every household should have a supply of at-home tests, that's what they're doing in the U.K. And for people who are priced out of the market, these tests are not cheap,” Gottlieb said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“I think when you're gathering around the holidays, you have to assess the circumstances. If you have younger kids who are unvaccinated with older relatives who are vaccinated, but still could be vulnerable from a breakthrough infection, using testing to try to protect that setting, I think, makes a lot of sense,” he added.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that COVID-19 cases are starting to trend downward nationwide, however it remains unclear how long this wave of the delta variant will last, or if it's even the last wave of the virus.

Using rapid testing, people can get results back from the tests as soon as after 15 minutes. However, these rapid tests are slightly less accurate than PCR tests, which can take days to return results.

Gottlieb told CBS moderator Margaret Brennan that the Biden administration could do more to “subsidize the availability of those tests, perhaps distributing them, for example, in the Medicaid program," he noted seems to be what it is aiming to do.

In September, the White House announced that it would be investing $2 billion into purchasing point-of-care and over-the-counter tests that could be used in places like prisons, nursing homes and schools. 

White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff ZientsJeff ZientsWhite House details plans for vaccinating children ages 5 to 11 Overnight Health Care — Presented by The National Council for Mental Wellbeing — NIH study finds mix-and-match boosters effective More than one-third of eligible seniors have received boosters, White House says MORE announced last week that the White House would be investing an additional $1 billion “to further mobilize testing manufacturers.”

"This means companies will be able to expand production of tests even further, based on the U.S. government’s commitment to procure an additional 180 million rapid tests over the course of next year, with tens of millions more tests coming to market over the course of the next 30 days,” Zients said last week.