The first tests might attain Americans by early February.
The Biden administration will launch a brand new website on Wednesday that Americans can use to request free at-home speedy COVID tests mailed to their doorsteps, senior White House officers mentioned on Friday.
People will likely be in a position to order 4 tests per family at COVIDTests.gov. They received’t be delivered instantly, although. They will likely be shipped out 7-12 days after they’re ordered, senior officers mentioned.
That means the primary free tests received’t attain Americans till late January or early February, which will likely be too late to blunt the height of omicron circumstances in lots of elements of the nation. Still, the plan will enable Americans to have free tests on-hand within the coming weeks and months.
All that folks want to enter on the positioning to obtain a check is a reputation and an tackle. The White House may also launch a name line for individuals who do not have pc entry.
Another 500 million tests will ultimately even be obtainable, bringing the entire to 1 billion free at-home tests distributed to Americans, however the White House hasn’t introduced a timeline for the second batch of tests.
And extra instantly, beginning Saturday, individuals will likely be in a position to rise up to eight tests monthly reimbursed by way of insurance coverage in the event that they exit and buy them on their very own, both online or at shops.
“In the primary couple of days, we’re encouraging individuals to simply make certain you retain your receipts because the programs are getting up online,” a senior administration official mentioned on Friday.
The White House can also be incentivizing insurers to work with retailers and supply the tests for free up-front for individuals who present their insurance coverage playing cards, related to how prescriptions may be lined on the pharmacy. Those partnerships between insurers and retailers are nonetheless within the works.
This is on high of fifty million free at-home tests which were doled out to group well being facilities across the nation and 20,000 free testing websites.
Taken collectively, all of it signifies a transparent effort on behalf of the administration to improve the testing provide after omicron caught the federal government off guard.
The myriad testing choices now in full swing may also doubtless take the strain off the website launching on Wednesday, significantly as circumstances start to fall in some northeastern areas.
Less demand will give the White House time to end contracting all 500 million tests.
Currently, the White House solely has tens of hundreds of thousands of tests on hand, a senior administration official confirmed Friday.
They’ve secured one other 400 million or so which can be nonetheless being manufactured and delivered.
But senior administration officers mentioned they had been assured they’d have the ability to get tests despatched out to any American who ordered a check subsequent week inside their transport timeline of 7-12 days.
“We’re assured that with our contracting velocity, which may be very quick, with those we now have on hand, and the timeline we’re laying out right this moment, that we will meet all of our timelines and get these to Americans that need them,” a senior administration official mentioned.
The tests will likely be despatched through the U.S. Postal Service as firstclass mail.
The tests is not going to essentially be of use to Americans who had been uncovered and wish to take a check throughout the first 5 days of publicity, or come down with signs and wish to check instantly, since they will take greater than 7-12 days to arrive.
But senior administration officers ran by way of the host of different testing choices Americans can use in these situations and defended this program as one “designed to be certain that Americans have at-home speedy tests on hand within the weeks and months forward, as they’ve a necessity.”
The officers additionally mentioned they had been “prepared” to meet demand on Wednesday and forestall any website crashes, as seen throughout former President Barack Obama’s launch of Healthcare.gov, which was overseen on the time by the present White House COVID Coordinator Jeff Zients.
“Of course, each website launch poses some dangers, we’re fairly cognizant of that. But we now have the most effective tech groups” throughout the administration, an official mentioned. “So we’re prepared for this and we’re prepared for Americans to begin ordering their tests on January 19.”