The U.S. government has announced a new initiative to provide more COVID-19 tests for home delivery to American citizens. In an effort to address the surge in cases typically seen during the winter holiday season, individuals who did not previously order a batch of tests in September will now have the opportunity to secure up to eight tests. Starting on Monday, these tests can be ordered for free at COVIDtests.gov, with delivery handled by the U.S. Postal Service.
With the flu season in full swing and reported spikes in RSV cases across the country, the government aims to curtail the spread of COVID-19 by increasing access to testing. While hospitalizations have remained steady in recent weeks, it is important to note that COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than 1 million people in the United States. However, thanks to prior vaccinations and infections, case counts have been relatively lower compared to previous years.
This release of free COVID-19 nasal swab tests coincides with new insurance policies that no longer require coverage for at-home tests. As a result, the average cost of an at-home test is now $11 out of pocket. The availability of these tests is crucial as the country heads into its first winter since the pandemic first emerged. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration has approved updated COVID-19 vaccines that specifically target the omicron descendant known as XBB.1.5. However, despite recommendations for everyone aged 6 months and older to get vaccinated, uptake of the vaccines has been slow.
With federal funding exceeding tens of billions of dollars over the past three years to develop COVID-19 tests, vaccines, and treatments, the government remains committed to combating the ongoing pandemic.
1. How many COVID-19 tests can individuals secure this time?
Individuals who did not order tests in September can secure up to eight COVID-19 tests this time.
2. Where can the tests be ordered?
The tests can be ordered for free at COVIDtests.gov.
3. Is there a cost associated with at-home tests?
On average, at-home tests now cost $11 out of pocket.
4. What did the Food and Drug Administration approve in September?
The FDA approved updated COVID-19 vaccines that target the omicron descendant named XBB.1.5, replacing older vaccines that targeted different strains.