A nationwide shortage of tests has plagued the pandemic response in recent weeks during the rampant spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant. Now the Biden Administration has procured more than 100 million additional COVID-19 tests from test manufacturer iHealth Lab Inc. as part of the White House’s plan to distribute 500 million free at-home tests across the country, the Department of Defense said Friday.
Starting in January, the U.S. government has been allowing households to order four free at-home COVID-19 tests from the website COVIDTests.gov with shipping expected within seven to 12 days of ordering.
— Tara Dublin (@taradublinrocks) January 29, 2022
The White House said on Friday that an estimated 60 million households have requested free Covid-19 rapid tests so far, with tens of millions tests having “gone out the door” as part of the Biden administration’s program to mail more than half a billion rapid tests to Americans around the country. This means the federal government has about 260 million tests still on hand out of the initial order of 500 million, which is enough for an additional 65 million households.
For 50-64 year olds, the difference is 46X.
— Leana Wen, M.D. (@DrLeanaWen) January 28, 2022
White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One that the federal government has also shipped out tens of millions of N95 masks to locations across the country, as part of the administration’s plan to distribute 400 million free masks at convenient locations nationwide.
— President Biden (@POTUS) January 28, 2022
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are starting to decline in the US, but deaths are rising and community transmission levels remain high.