The U.S. government has announced that Americans can order up to four free COVID-19 tests online for home delivery, starting Monday. This opportunity is open to anyone who did not order a batch of tests in the previous round. Individuals can secure up to eight tests from covidtests.gov, with delivery provided by the U.S. Postal Service at no charge.
The distribution of free COVID-19 tests comes as flu season begins and some areas of the country are experiencing a spike in RSV cases. Although COVID-19 hospitalizations were on the rise this fall, they have since remained steady. The release of free tests is significant as it follows the time when insurers are no longer required to cover their cost, which typically results in individuals paying around $11 out of pocket for at-home tests.
Federal health officials are reminding people about the importance of immunity from previous vaccinations and infections in helping to limit case counts, especially during the winter holiday season when cases typically surge. The Food and Drug Administration approved updated COVID-19 vaccines targeting the XBB.1.5 descendant of the omicron variant in September, aimed at enhancing protection during the winter months. Vaccinations are recommended for everyone age 6 months or older, but their uptake has been slow despite billions of dollars invested by U.S taxpayers into the development of COVID-19 tests, vaccines, and treatments over the past three years, underscoring the government’s commitment to combatting the pandemic