Billions of dollars in federal funds earmarked for boosting nationwide Covid-19 testing remain unspent months after Congress made the money available, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In April, Congress allocated roughly $25 billion for federal agencies and states to expand testing, develop contact-tracing initiatives and broaden disease surveillance.
According to HHS data, only about 10% to 15% of that total has been drawn down, meaning the cash has been spent or committed to various efforts. The funds for various testing initiatives were part of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.
The Trump administration has taken a state-led approach to testing Americans for Covid-19, dispatching funds and helping states procure the swabs and reagents they need to facilitate testing. The strategy, federal officials say, helps states identify and cater to their specific needs.
Of the $25 billion, some $10.25 billion was sent to states and U.S. territories in May to expand testing and develop contact-tracing programs at their discretion, but as of Aug. 14, just $121 million of that pool of funds had been drawn down.