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More free at-home COVID-19 tests are available from the government.
In a Twitter video, President Biden made the announcement on Monday.
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“Today, I want you to know that if you’ve already ordered free tests, you can now order another round, shipped directly to your home and for free, so we’re prepared no matter what COVID-19 brings,” he said.
The tests are available from the federal website at COVIDtests.gov.
Each household can order a total of eight tests. If an order was already made for four in January when the program launched, another order can be placed for four more.
Biden first discussed the move at his State of the Union address last week, as well as the “Test to Treat initiative,” which will ensure people can get tested at a pharmacy and receive antiviral pills on the spot at no cost if they are positive.
“And, if Congress provides the funds we need, we’ll have new stockpiles of tests, masks and pills ready if needed,” he said.
Nearly half of the 500 million free tests the administration made available to the public remained unclaimed in late February.
The White House said then that Americans had placed 68 million orders for packages of tests, leaving about 46% of the stock of tests still available to be ordered.
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“We totally intend to sustain this market,” Dr. Tom Inglesby, testing adviser to the COVID-19 response team, told The Associated Press. “We know the market is volatile and will come up and down with surges in variants.”
NPR reported that some tests didn’t ship within the seven-to-12-day window that had been promised because the administration was waiting on manufacturers.
This time, Inglesby told the outlet there is a “fairly substantial stock of new tests” that will be “shipping immediately.”
The administration was subject to criticism in December and January as the highly transmissible omicron variant surged and tests remained scarce.
The federal and U.S. Postal Service websites began accepting orders in mid-January.
COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations have plunged since then and public health leaders and the White House are hoping to move to a new phase of pandemic response.
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The White House has requested $22.5 billion in additional funding from Congress.
Some of that money would go to purchasing rapid tests – both to keep the industry viable and to fill the nation’s strategic reserves.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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