Americans can now order up to four free COVID-19 tests online for home delivery once again. This opportunity is available to anyone who did not order a batch of tests in the previous round. Starting Monday, individuals can secure up to eight tests from covidtests.gov, with delivery provided by the U.S. Postal Service at no charge. This initiative from the U.S. government comes as the flu season begins and some areas of the country are experiencing a spike in RSV cases.
The distribution of free COVID-19 tests is happening just in time for the winter holiday season, when cases typically surge. With the U.S. Postal Service ensuring free delivery, this opportunity is designed to help people prepare for potential increases in virus transmission during this busy time of year. Federal health officials are noting the importance of immunity from previous vaccinations and infections in helping to limit case counts as well as protecting against severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19 infection during this peak period of activity.
The release of free COVID-19 tests is significant as it follows the time when insurers were no longer required to cover their cost and many people had to pay out-of-pocket for at-home testing which costs around $11 on average per test . Furthermore, in September the Food and Drug Administration approved updated COVID-19 vaccines targeting the XBB.1.5 descendant of the omicron variant, in an effort to enhance protection during the winter months when cases tend to rise more frequently than other times of year . Vaccinations are recommended for everyone age 6 months or older, but their uptake has been slow across age groups and socioeconomic backgrounds despite billions of dollars invested by U