Americans can now order up to four free COVID-19 tests online for home delivery, with delivery provided by the U.S. Postal Service at no cost. This opportunity is available to anyone who did not order a batch of tests in the previous round, and it starts on Monday. Individuals can secure up to eight tests from covidtests.gov, making it an ideal time for people to prepare for potential increases in virus transmission during the winter holiday season.
The distribution of free COVID-19 tests comes as flu season begins and some areas of the country are experiencing a spike in RSV cases. Although COVID-19 hospitalizations were on the rise this fall, they have since remained steady. Federal health officials are emphasizing the importance of immunity from previous vaccinations and infections in helping to limit case counts.
The release of free COVID-19 tests is significant as it follows insurers no longer being required to cover their cost, which typically costs individuals around $11 out of pocket for at-home tests. In September, the Food and Drug Administration approved updated COVID-19 vaccines targeting the XBB.1.5 descendant of the omicron variant, in an effort to enhance protection during the winter. Vaccinations are recommended for everyone age 6 months or older, but their uptake has been slow.
Over the past three years, U.S taxpayers have invested billions of dollars in the development of COVID-19 tests, vaccines and treatments, underscoring the government’s commitment to combatting the pandemic.
In summary, this initiative from the U.S government is timely and aimed at helping people prepare for potential increases in virus transmission during winter holidays season while also promoting immunity from previous vaccinations and infections in limiting case counts.