Government Website Distributing 500 million Free COVID Tests

Conor Merrick | News Editor | cpm2022@jagmail.southalabama.edu |

Image Source: IAEA

The Biden administration has set up a website for Americans to order at-home COVID tests for free to help combat the Omicron surge. 

Covidtests.gov launched in a beta phase format Tuesday to test if the website is working and ready. The formal launch for the site was this morning. The site will distribute over 500 million tests, focusing on areas that have been hardest hit by COVID and the Omicron variant, according to an article by NBC. Mobile County may fit the bill as it has had over 15,000 new cases during the period between Jan 4. and Jan. 17, according to the New York Times COVID Case Map.

So far, users have reported the website is working smoothly and the process isn’t difficult, according to a CNN article. Website visitors may order up to 4 rapid test kits per household and do not have to pay any shipping costs. The White House explained the 4 test limitation is a measure to combat nationwide test shortages. 

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is in charge of shipping the tests nationwide and delivery is expected to take anywhere from 7 to twelve days. Postmaster General Louis Dejoy introduced cutbacks in his austerity plan, including moving most transit back to ground shipment rather than air, according to an article by The Washington Post. It is unclear if the austerity measures will affect the transit rate for COVID tests.

The at-home COVID tests are part of a wider plan introduced by the Biden administration in which new federal testing sites will also be set up, according to an article by NBC. 1000 military personnel are also being ordered to assist at hospitals that are short staffed or overflowed.