The Biden administration has announced that it will resume providing free at-home COVID-19 tests to American households starting next Monday. Through the COVIDtests.gov website, Americans can request up to four free tests. This initiative was launched in January 2022 but was temporarily halted on June 1 of the same year to conserve supplies. The relaunch of the program comes as the fall and winter months approach when COVID-19 typically spreads more rapidly.
The at-home tests being distributed will be capable of detecting currently circulating COVID-19 variants. These kits are intended for use until the end of 2023 and will include instructions for verifying the extension of the test’s expiration date.
Testing remains a crucial tool in managing the ongoing pandemic, especially as COVID-19 cases have been on the rise, driven by newer variants of the virus. The traditional PCR lab tests for COVID-19 have become more expensive and less accessible to some Americans since the U.S. government ended the public health emergency declaration in May. Consequently, access to free at-home tests through public and private insurers has changed, leaving some people unable to obtain them at no cost through their plans. However, some local health clinics and community sites continue to offer free at-home tests to the public.
In addition to resuming the free at-home test program, the Biden administration has allocated $600 million to strengthen manufacturing capacity at 12 COVID-19 test manufacturers across the United States, aiming to secure around 200 million tests from these companies. This investment is intended to bolster domestic production of at-home COVID-19 rapid tests and help curb the spread of the virus.
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