Just in time for the holiday season, the Biden administration is offering Americans a new round of free at-home coronavirus tests through the Postal Service.
The administration revived the dormant program in September, announcing then that households could order four free tests through a federal website, covidtests.gov. From Monday, households will be able to order four additional tests – or eight tests if they did not order one in the previous cycle.
Hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19 are far lower than they were during the worst periods of the pandemic, which has claimed more than 1.1 million lives in the United States.
Hospital admissions of Covid patients increased this summer, but they began to decline slightly in September and have remained fairly stable in recent weeks. About 16,000 people were admitted to hospitals with the virus in the week ended Nov. 11, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Private insurers were previously required to cover up to eight at-home tests per month, but that requirement ended in May with the expiration of the public health emergency for the coronavirus, making it harder for many Americans to get tests without paying the bill.
In addition to the Postal Service program, the federal Department of Health and Human Services says it provides more than four million tests per week to long-term care facilities, schools, community health centers and food banks.