The US government will offer another round of free COVID-19 tests for delivery across the country, in preparation for the upcoming holiday season.
New Round of Free Tests Available
The US Department of Health and Human Services announced that the government will begin taking orders for an additional round of free COVID-19 tests to be delivered nationwide. This initiative is aimed at providing households with the resources they need to stay safe and healthy during the upcoming holiday season, which typically involves increased travel and gatherings.
Eligibility for Ordering
Households that previously ordered four free tests through COVIDTests.gov when they were last offered in September are eligible to order four additional tests. Those who did not order tests at that time can now submit two orders for a total of eight free tests.
Rationale for Test Availability
The decision to make free COVID-19 tests available nationwide ahead of the holiday season is motivated by the increased risk of the virus spreading during this time. With the anticipated rise in travel and indoor gatherings associated with the holiday season, the government aims to mitigate potential outbreaks and protect public health.
Current COVID-19 Data
As of November 11, the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that weekly COVID-19 hospital admissions have surpassed 16,000. While this represents an increase from the previous week, it is lower than the numbers reported at the same time last year. The availability of free tests is crucial in managing the ongoing impact of the pandemic.
Background and Funding
President Joe Biden’s administration temporarily suspended the free test program in August 2022 due to funding constraints, but later resumed the initiative in response to surging cases. The tests are funded through COVID-19 supplemental funding from the American Rescue Plan.
Scale of Distribution
The administration has already distributed over 1.6 billion free tests, both through direct delivery to individuals’ homes and through allocations to various institutions such as long-term care facilities, schools, community health centers, and food banks. Furthermore, there are plans to expand a program that brings tests to schools nationwide in the near future.