Monday, July 15, 2024

U.S. Returns to Offering Free At-Home COVID-19 Testing Starting Monday

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As COVID-19 continues its grip on the nation, the Biden administration has announced a renewed commitment to providing free at-home tests to American households. Commencing Monday, Americans will once again have access to these life-saving resources.

Users will be able to request four complimentary tests through The site, operational since January 2022, halted orders as of June 1 to preserve valuable test supplies.

With autumn and winter – prime seasons for viral spread – just around the corner, the government has deemed it fit to relaunch the program. A concerning trend of increasing COVID hospitalizations for eight consecutive weeks — primarily driven by emergent virus strains, underscores this decision.

The free at-home tests will include detection capabilities for currently circulating COVID variants. Well-prepared for continued use, these kits are designed for usage until the end of 2023. Users will receive guidelines on verifying an extended test’s expiration date, an extra layer of reassurance provided by the administration.

As COVID-19 cases surge anew, testing remains a vital defensive tool. However, lab PCR tests – previously the go-to method for COVID-19 detection – have become costlier and less accessible since the U.S. government’s cessation of the public health emergency in May.

The conclusion of this emergency status also altered how public and private insurers cover at-home tests. While this change potentially restricts some people from freely accessing these tests through their plans, some local health clinics and community sites persist in offering free at-home tests to the public.

In a demonstration of the administration’s commitment to enhancing test production, an impressive $600 million has been pledged to fortify the manufacturing capabilities of 12 COVID test manufacturers nationwide. The administration predicts they will obtain roughly 200 million tests from these companies.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra affirmed that these crucial investments will “strengthen our nation’s production levels of domestic at-home COVID-19 rapid tests and help mitigate the spread of the virus.”

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