Omicron driving huge demand for COVID tests ahead of the holidays

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Holiday travel, family gatherings and the rapid surge of new coronavirus cases triggered by the omicron variant, are driving huge demand for COVID-19 tests, leaving people scrambling as they prepare to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s.

The result so far has been around-the-block lines at testing sites and shortages of at-home tests at drug stores. And many Americans are facing the possibility that they’ll have to scrap their plans altogether, as the number of testing opportunities dwindles ahead of the holidays.

National, state and local leaders are trying to respond to the current crush of demand, but aid may come too late.

Cars line up at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at Miami’s Tropical Park on Wednesday.Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Biden administration, which has come under pressure for not increasing widespread availability of at-home tests, on Tuesday rolled out a plan to set up federal testing across the country. President Biden also said the government would buy a half-billion at-home COVID test kits and mail them to people who want them. But deliveries won’t start until January.


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