Americans can order up to eight free COVID-19 tests online for home delivery. This opportunity is available to those who did not order a batch of four tests in September. The U.S. government is offering this service as the flu season begins and a spike in RSV cases has been reported in some parts of the country.
The U.S. Postal Service will deliver the tests for free. COVID-19 hospitalizations were on the rise this fall but have since remained steady. The government’s initiative aims to provide Americans with the necessary tools to mitigate the spread of the virus during the winter holiday season.
In addition to the free tests, the Food and Drug Administration approved updated COVID-19 vaccines in September to provide increased protection for Americans this winter. The shots target an omicron descendant named XBB.1.5, replacing older vaccines that targeted the original coronavirus strain and an earlier omicron version.
The release of free COVID-19 nasal swab tests comes just before the first winter since insurers are no longer mandated to cover their cost. On average, at-home tests now cost $11 out of pocket. Uptake of the COVID-19 vaccines has been slow, yet taxpayers have invested billions of dollars into the development of tests, vaccines and treatments since the pandemic began.