Americans are now able to request additional free COVID-19 tests online for delivery to their homes. The U.S. government has launched a new initiative in preparation for the anticipated surge in cases during the winter holiday season. This offer is available to individuals who did not previously order a batch of four tests in September, and they can now secure up to eight tests this time around. Starting from Monday, these tests can be requested at COVIDtests.gov, and the U.S. Postal Service will deliver them free of charge.
As the flu season commences and there has been a rise in RSV cases in some areas of the country, the government is taking proactive measures to address the ongoing pandemic. Although there has been an increase in hospitalizations for COVID-19 in recent months, the numbers have stabilized due to the immunity acquired from previous vaccinations and infections. Compared to previous years, the case count has remained lower.
This new release of free COVID-19 nasal swab tests is well-timed, given that insurers are no longer mandated to cover the cost of these tests for the upcoming winter season. On average, at-home tests now cost around $11. However, individuals can now obtain these tests at no cost through the government’s initiative.
Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration approved updated COVID-19 vaccines in September, specifically targeting the omicron descendant named XBB.1.5. These new vaccines aim to provide enhanced protection against the virus during the winter months. It is recommended that everyone aged 6 months and older receive the vaccine, yet the uptake has been slow.
To address the ongoing pandemic, the U.S. government has invested significant resources, totaling tens of billions of dollars, in the development of COVID-19 tests, vaccines, and treatments since the start of the pandemic three years ago.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. How can Americans obtain additional free COVID-19 tests?
Americans who did not previously order a batch of four COVID-19 tests in September can now request up to eight tests for free at COVIDtests.gov. The U.S. Postal Service will deliver these tests to their homes.
2. Why is the government providing additional free tests?
The government is offering additional free tests in anticipation of the surge in COVID-19 cases during the winter holiday season. This initiative aims to curb the spread of the virus and ensure individuals have access to testing.
3. Are insurers still required to cover the cost of COVID-19 tests?
No, insurers are no longer obligated to cover the cost of COVID-19 tests for the upcoming winter season. On average, at-home tests cost approximately $11 out of pocket.
4. What is the latest update on COVID-19 vaccines?
The Food and Drug Administration approved updated COVID-19 vaccines in September, targeting the omicron descendant named XBB.1.5. These vaccines aim to provide enhanced protection against the virus during the winter months.
5. How much has the U.S. government invested in COVID-19 tests, vaccines, and treatments?
The U.S. government has allocated tens of billions of dollars to develop COVID-19 tests, vaccines, and treatments since the start of the pandemic three years ago.