As the winter holiday season approaches and concerns about the surge in COVID-19 cases grow, the U.S. government is offering another opportunity for Americans to order free at-home virus tests. Starting Monday, individuals who did not previously order a batch of four COVID-19 tests in September can now secure up to eight of them through COVIDtests.gov. The U.S. Postal Service will deliver these tests free of charge.
This initiative comes at a critical time as the flu season begins and certain regions across the country report an increase in cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). With COVID-19 being responsible for over 1 million deaths in the United States, it is crucial to monitor the situation closely. Although COVID-19 hospitalizations have stabilized in recent weeks, it is important to note that immunity from vaccinations and previous infections has helped keep case counts lower compared to previous years.
Additionally, this new release of free COVID-19 tests comes just as insurers are no longer required to cover their cost. As a result, individuals may have to bear the expense of these tests, which now average around $11 out of pocket. However, the availability of these free tests offers a vital resource for individuals who may not be able to afford the out-of-pocket cost.
In September, the Food and Drug Administration approved updated COVID-19 vaccines targeting the XBB.1.5 variant, an offspring of the omicron strain. These updated vaccines aim to provide enhanced protection to individuals during the winter season. Although vaccination is recommended for everyone aged 6 months and older, vaccine uptake has been relatively slow.
It is worth noting that the development of COVID-19 tests, vaccines, and treatments has required significant investment from U.S. taxpayers. Over the past three years of the pandemic, tens of billions of dollars have been spent to ensure the availability of these essential resources.
Q: How can I order the free COVID-19 tests?
A: You can order the tests through COVIDtests.gov. The U.S. Postal Service will deliver them to your home for free.
Q: Who is eligible to order the tests?
A: Anyone who did not order a batch of four COVID-19 tests in September can secure up to eight of them this time around.
Q: How much do at-home COVID-19 tests now cost?
A: On average, at-home tests now cost $11 out of pocket.
Q: Are COVID-19 vaccines still important?
A: Yes, COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for everyone aged 6 months and older, especially during the winter season when the risk of transmission is higher.