The U.S. government has announced a new initiative to provide free COVID-19 tests for home delivery. In an effort to combat the potential surge in cases during the winter holiday season, the government is offering individuals the opportunity to order up to eight at-home virus tests through COVIDtests.gov. The tests will be delivered free of charge by the U.S. Postal Service.
This initiative follows a previous round of testing in September, during which individuals could order a batch of four tests. For those who did not participate in the previous round, this is an opportunity to secure testing kits for themselves and their families.
The decision to further distribute COVID-19 tests comes at a crucial time as the flu season begins and some areas of the country are experiencing a rise in cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). While hospitalizations for COVID-19 have remained steady in recent weeks, the government’s proactive approach aims to mitigate the impact of these respiratory illnesses.
In addition to the distribution of free tests, it is important to note that this winter marks a change in regulations. Insurers are no longer required to cover the cost of at-home tests, resulting in an average out-of-pocket expense of $11 for individuals.
To enhance protection against the virus, the Food and Drug Administration approved updated COVID-19 vaccines in September. These vaccines target a descendant of the omicron variant known as XBB.1.5, replacing previous vaccines that focused on different strains of the virus. Although vaccinations are recommended for individuals aged 6 months and older, the uptake has been relatively slow.
It is worth recognizing the significant investment made by U.S. taxpayers over the past three years to develop COVID-19 tests, vaccines, and treatments. These funds have been crucial in confronting the challenges posed by the pandemic and ensuring the well-being of the population.
Q: How many free COVID-19 tests can individuals order through the new initiative?
A: Individuals can order up to eight free COVID-19 tests.
Q: Are there any costs associated with the at-home tests?
A: While the tests are free, insurers are no longer required to cover their cost, resulting in an average out-of-pocket expense of $11.
Q: What does the updated COVID-19 vaccine target?
A: The updated COVID-19 vaccines target a descendant of the omicron variant known as XBB.1.5.
Q: Who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines?
A: The COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for everyone aged 6 months and older.
Q: How much money has the U.S. government spent on COVID-19 tests, vaccines, and treatments?
A: U.S. taxpayers have spent tens of billions of dollars over the past three years to develop COVID-19 tests, vaccines, and treatments.
– Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
– Nonprofit health research firm KFF