In preparation for a potential winter surge of Covid-19, the Biden administration unveiled plans on Wednesday to resurrect its program of furnishing free coronavirus tests to Americans via mail. This initiative will involve an expenditure exceeding $600 million for the procurement of tests from a consortium of twelve domestic manufacturers.
The official website for this undertaking, located at covidtests.gov, is set to commence accepting orders starting next Monday. Households will be eligible to receive a package of four tests each. Dawn O’Connell, who serves as the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response within the Health and Human Services Department, disclosed that these funds will facilitate the acquisition of 200 million tests to replenish the national stockpile, ensuring a steady distribution of tests to the public.
A noteworthy ancillary outcome of this initiative, as articulated by Ms. O’Connell, is the bolstering of domestic manufacturing capabilities to better contend with the prospect of any future substantial surges of the coronavirus.
While the United States has seen an uptick in coronavirus hospitalizations, it’s important to note that the current numbers remain significantly lower than earlier stages of the pandemic. Nevertheless, access to free tests has become more limited for many Americans. A pivotal development in this regard occurred when the Biden administration allowed the public health emergency for the coronavirus to lapse in May, thereby ending the prior obligation on private insurers to cover up to eight at-home tests per month.