In efforts to further curb the spread of coronavirus as colder months quickly approach, the Trump administration announced it will send mass shipments of rapid coronavirus tests to every Historically Black College and University in the country.
The decision, confirmed by White House coronavirus task force testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir, comes after the Department of Health and Human Services’ August deal to purchase and distribute 150 million of rapid tests – from Abbott Laboratories – to populations facing higher risk, according to the Daily Caller.
“We know they’ve been underserved historically, and we just want to support them,” he stated. “It is a fact, except for a few very high-tech globally competitive universities that many of these are small, rural and do not have the kind of laboratory capacity that other universities do.”
Colleges and Universities around the country are working tirelessly to keep the transmission of the virus at a minimum, but tests are extremely expensive and difficult to come by. The first shipment is expected to last schools “quite a period of time” in hopes to prevent them from becoming hotspots for cases and hospitalizations.
The Department of Health and Human Services has already sent 250,000 tests to 41 of the country’s HBCUs and Howard University, with plans for a second shipment to be delivered to the rest in the near future, according to the Daily Caller. Giroir says that each of the 107 HBCUs will receive enough tests to cover the entirety of the student body, as well as all faculty and staff.
While HBCUs are considered to be high risk, due to their small size and rural nature, these schools are just some of the many high-risk institutions in the country in need of help. The HHS initiative also plans to supply Abbott rapid tests to nursing homes, tribal jurisdictions and areas impacted by wildfires and hurricanes to help stop the spread.