Biden to announce purchase of additional 500 million COVID-19 tests

President BidenJoe BidenMadame Tussauds unveils new Biden and Harris figures US raises concerns about Russian troop movements to Belarus Putin tests a model for invading Ukraine, outwitting Biden's diplomats MORE will announce Thursday that his administration is purchasing another 500 million COVID-19 tests amid a surge in coronavirus cases and subsequent pressure to boost testing. 
 
The announcement of the testing haul will add to the 500 million rapid at-home tests that Biden announced at the end of December. Those tests are slated to start being distributed later this month, and a website will be available for people to request them, for free. 
 
The new announcement is to meet future demand after those initial tests are distributed, the White House said.
 
"Today, as a part of the President’s remarks and briefing, he will announce that in addition to the 500 million tests that we are in the process of acquiring, he is directing his team to procure 500 million more tests to meet future demand," a White House official said.
 
The purchase comes as Biden has been under pressure to take stronger action on testing. Health experts have been pushing for months to make rapid tests available and say that the administration should have acted far sooner than the end of December on the announcement. 
 
The scale of rapid tests needed is also large. With 330 million people in the U.S., experts said that the 500 million tests announced in December was a step forward but far from enough. 
 
A group of congressional Democrats earlier this week called for the administration to ensure enough production so that every American could take at least one rapid test per week.