Vice President Kamala Harris says 500 million COVID-19 tests were being prepared to ship to every American household “soon,” and that getting the country tests amid the recent omicron surge was “a matter of urgency” for the administration.
“They’ve been ordered. They’ve been ordered,” Harris told Craig Melvin in an exclusive interview Thursday on TODAY. “I have to look at the current information. I think it’s going to be by next week. But soon. Absolutely soon. And it is a matter of urgency for us.”
When pressed about whether the move should have come sooner, the vice president reiterated that the tests were on their way.
“We are doing it,” she said.
After Harris’ interview aired, a White House official clarified the timetable to TODAY, saying the 500 million at-home COVID-19 tests would be sent out to the country later this month, and the contracts to create the tests were expected to be awarded over the next two weeks.
Additional details about the tests would be provided on Friday, the official said.
Harris also addressed whether it was time for the Biden administration to change course in how it approaches the coronavirus. Covid deaths have reached 1,600 per day in the U.S., a 40 percent increase over the previous week, according to CDC data. Last week, six former administration health officials wrote an open letter urging President Joe Biden to adopt a new pandemic strategy.
Harris reiterated the need for people to get vaccinated.
“Every day it is time for us to agree that there are things and tools that are available to us to slow this thing down,” she said. “We are in the midst of a surge. That’s where we are right now. And so right now, we know we still have a number of people that, that is in the millions of Americans who have not been vaccinated, and could be vaccinated, and we are urging them to get vaccinated because it will save their life.”
The vice president also addressed the issue of voting rights and the president’s comments in a speech in Atlanta on Tuesday that compared those who opposed voting rights legislation to those who opposed civil rights.
“President Biden took the, I believe, right and courageous step to say that Senate rules should not get in the way of protecting the American people’s access to the ballot,” she said. “And he compared this time to a previous time in our history, which is apt for comparison.”
The White House has faced Republican opposition to the two bills, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
It has also been putting pressure on two moderate Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who have said they support the voting legislation but oppose an end to the filibuster, a crucial move to getting the bills passed.
“When we have the discussion about who’s responsible, I will not absolve the 50 Republicans in the United States Senate from responsibility for upholding one of the most basic and important tenets of our democracy, which is free and fair elections and access to the ballot for all eligible voters,” Harris said.
Asked specifically about Manchin and Sinema, Harris said, “I don’t think anyone should be absolved from the responsibility of preserving and protecting our democracy, specially when they took an oath to protect and defend our Constitution.”
There has also been speculation about what the Democratic presidential ticket will look like in 2024 and whether Biden and Harris will run again.
Harris said she remained locked in on the challenges ahead of her.
“I’m sorry, we are thinking about today,” she said. “I mean, honestly, I know why you’re asking the question, because this is part of the punditry and the gossip around places like Washington, D.C. Let me just tell you something: We’re focused on the things in front of us.”
Editor’s Note: The headline of this story has been updated after further clarification from the White House on the timeline of the delivery of COVID-19 tests to Americans. A White House official offered additional comment after Vice President Harris’ interview aired on TODAY.
Drew Weisholtz is a reporter for TODAY Digital, focusing on pop culture, nostalgia and trending stories. He has seen every episode of “Saved by the Bell” at least 50 times, longs to perfect the crane kick from “The Karate Kid” and performs stand-up comedy, while also cheering on the New York Yankees and New York Giants. A graduate of Rutgers University, he is the married father of two kids who believe he is ridiculous.
© 2022 NBC UNIVERSAL
Best Indian Destination to Visit
Goa- Best Indian Destination to Visit
Goa is a state in western India. It is known for its beaches, backwaters, Adventure water Sports, waterfalls, and temples. It is a popular tourist destination due to its laid-back atmosphere, cheap hotels, and world-class restaurants. Palolem Beach, Colva Beach, Agonda Beach, Dudhsagar Falls, Anjuna Market, Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Braganza House, Mahadev Temple, Palácio do Deão, Mangeshi Temple, Fontainhas, Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, and Reis Magos Fort are famous destination in Goa. And Goa is also know for night life. Enjoy Night clubs, party here . So in Goa you can teste a different culture in Goa.
Delhi- Best Indian Destination to Visit
Delhi is the national capital of India and home to 1.17 billion people. It’s a city of contrasts where modernity coexists with ancient history. From the busy streets to the quiet temples, Delhi offers something for everyone. Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Qutub Minar, Lotus Temple, Aksherdham, Zoo, Old Fort, India Gate, Humayun Tomb are some of best Destination to visit. Apart form these You can visit:- Lajpat Nagar, sarojini Nagar, Janpath and Jama Masjid are the best Shopping Places in delhi. And in delhi you can find out best street foods menu in veg and non veg dishes.
Agra- Best Indian Destination to Visit
Agra is a major city of Uttar Pradesh, and a major tourist attraction is located in Agra call as “ The Taj Mahal”. You can Expericne the art of Mughal empire in agra. ALso this is one of the places to visit near delhi within 200 kms. Beyond Taj Mahal You Can Visit These Places That Are Near Or In Agra. These places are Agra Fort, Sikandra, Fatehpur Sikri, Dayal Bagh Temple, Bateshwar Temple, Chini Ka Rauza, Keetham Lake, Mathura, and vrindavan. Mathura and vrindavan are close to agra about 70 Kms far. These are Hindu holy places.
Jaipur- Best Indian Destination to Visit
Jaipur is the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan. It alludes to the royal dynasty that once ruled the region and built the Old City, also known as the “Pink City” because of its distinctive building colour, in 1727. In the heart of a grand, colonnaded area lies the City Palace complex. Gardens, courtyards and museums still exist today as part of its royal house. Hawa Mahal, Jainivas Garden, City Palace, Amber Palace at Jantar Mantar, Samode, Light and Sound Show, Nahargarh Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Jal Mahal, Galtaji are some of the best places in Jaipur.
Kashmir- Best Indian Destination to Visit
Kashmir Valley is one of the top tourist destinations in India. Apart from its apple orchards, flower gardens and other attractions, Kashmir is famous for its natural beauty. With its distinctive handicrafts and famous Kashmiri shawls, it attracts tourists. The most popular tourist destinations in Jammu and Kashmir are Srinagar, Mughal Gardens, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Patnitop and Jammu. Many Hindu pilgrims visit Vaishno Devi and Amarnath every year, which has a significant impact on the state’s economy.
Manali- Best Indian Destination to Visit
Manali is a city in Himachal Pradesh, India. It is one of the top ski resorts in India. It is famous for its beautiful surroundings, favorable climate and extensive cultural history. It is a popular travel destination in India and attracts visitors from all over the world.
Manali is a popular honeymoon destination as you can witness snowfall and gorgeous mountain views from late December to early January. This is the ideal time for skiing enthusiasts. Camping, hiking, mountain biking, ziplining, rappelling, paragliding, downhill cycling, jeep safaris, river crossings, angling, and many other activities are available.
Kerala- Best Indian Destination to Visit
The Indian state of Kerala is situated on the moist Malabar Coast. It is famous for its backwaters, network of canals and palm-fringed beaches. The Western Ghats are naturally occurring mountains that support a wide variety of plant life including tea, coffee and spice plantations. Wayanad and other sanctuaries as well as national parks like Eravikulam and Periyar are home to elephants, langur monkeys and tigers. Alleppey, Kochi, Thekkady, Munnar, Thrissur, Kovalam, Wayanad, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Kannur are best destination to visit in Kerala.
Andaman and Nicobar- Best Indian Destination to Visit
The Andaman Islands are an Indian island chain in the Bay of Bengal. And Due to the increasing popularity of beaches and adventure sports like snorkeling and sea walking, tourism to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is on the rise. Long Island, Havelock Island, Little Andaman Island, Diglipur, Parrot Island, Bharatpur Beach, Samudrika Marine Museum, Cellular Jail, Lamiya Bay Beach are some of the best spots to visit in Andaman and Nichobar. Indian tourists do not require a visa to visit the Andaman Islands, but if they wish to visit any tribal area, they require special authorization from the Deputy Commissioner at Port Blair. Foreign nationals require a permit. This clearance is given to foreign nationals coming by air on arrival at Port Blair. This can be a best Indian destination to visit.