WATCH: White House press secretary Jen Psaki holds a news briefing on omicron testing

President Joe Biden promised to distribute hundreds of millions of free COVID-19 tests and to open more testing sites, but the stepped-up efforts will not come in time for the holidays.

Watch the briefing in the player above.

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters his administration had done enough to ensure Americans gathering with family members this season were able to do so safely.

“We have tried to take additional rapid steps and be as bold and ambitious as we can with the available supply that is on the market. In terms of what steps were taken, when Omicron was discovered, which was right around Thanksgiving, right? We took urgent action on travel, told Americans to get their booster or vaccine; that Monday, the president addressed the country to where we were with the virus. That Thursday, he released a winter plan,” Psaki said.

In the United States, infections average around 149,000 a day, up from 75,000 a day at the start of November.

Americans have been searching drugstores for scarce home tests or waiting hours at testing facilities across the country. Fueling the surging demand for tests is a mix of factors, including families seeking to keep holiday gatherings safe and people needing to prove they are virus-free for travel, work or school.

READ MORE: Less than a month after discovery, Omicron now 73 percent of U.S. COVID-19 cases

Adding to the pressure is the extra-contagious omicron variant. It has a multiplying effect on the number of people seeking tests after being exposed to an infected person.

Biden announced Tuesday that the federal government would for the first-time start mailing 500 million free rapid tests directly to Americans in January. Details have not yet been released, but officials say people will be able to use a new website to order their tests, which will be mailed to them at no charge.

The government will use the Defense Production Act to help manufacture more tests. And new federal testing sites will also be set up, starting this week in New York.

“We’ve opened 20,000 testing sites. We’ve worked with FEMA — we’re opening more testing sites across the country, so people will be able to gather with their family members. Are we through the pandemic? No, we’re not. But we are in a very different place than we were one year ago,” she said.

Additionally, Psaki also responded to comments made by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin is urging the West to “immediately” meet Russia’s demand for security guarantees precluding NATO’s expansion to Ukraine and the deployment of the military alliance’s weapons there. He accused the West during a marathon news conference on Thursday of trying to make Ukraine “anti-Russia, constantly beefed up with modern weapons and brainwashing the population.”

The Russian leader welcomed talks with the U.S. that are set to start in Geneva next month, but warned the discussion focused on Moscow’s demand needs to produce quick results.

In response, Psaki said: “The only aggression at the border of Russia and Ukraine is the military buildup by the Russians and the bellicose rhetoric from the leader of Russia.”

“I would just note that NATO is a defensive alliance,” she said, adding that diplomacy was the best path while noting that “there has not been a final agreement on location or timing” of the security talks.