Another round of “free” COVID-19 tests is now available for delivery to Americans at COVID.gov/tests. This is the third round of taxpayer-funded COVID-19 tests offered, but the amount allowed per household request is doubled, in this instance, to eight. The United States Postal Service will deliver the tests.
In the two previous rounds, households could only request up to four free tests. The Biden administration has stated that just 350 million of the 1 billion tests made available to the general public have been distributed across the continental United States, its territories, and overseas military bases.
The distributed tests have gone to 70 million households, representing more than half of U.S. households.
The third round of tests comes as COVID cases in the U.S. have risen more than 60% in the past two weeks.
“As the highly transmissible subvariants of Omicron drive a rise in cases in parts of the country, free and accessible tests will help slow the spread of the virus,” states a White House fact sheet.
President Joe Biden committed in January to make one billion tests available to the general public at a time when the first Omicron wave was causing a spike in cases and hospitalizations. However, by the time the government tests started showing up in mailboxes, cases and hospitalizations had declined.
The purchase of the billion COVID tests, funded by the American Rescue Plan, is meant to stabilize the at-home test supply that has struggled to keep up with the boom and bust nature of the pandemic.
“COVID-19 testing is a critical tool to help mitigate the spread of the virus, which is why maintaining domestic testing capacity is an essential component of the President’s National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan,” the White House said.
Biden has requested an additional $22 billion from Congress to purchase vaccines and medicines in preparation for the expected spike in COVID-19 cases in the fall; however, his proposal has not been approved as of yet.