Americans will be able to request rapid coronavirus tests at no cost at home starting next Wednesday, January 19, as reported this Friday by several authorities of the Joe Biden Administration. Those interested must request them through the COVIDTests.gov website, with a maximum of four per household. The delivery time will be seven to 12 days from the request. The Biden government has promised to buy a total of one billion tests to deliver free of charge to citizens.
Administration employees explained that people should request a test in these three scenarios: if they begin to have symptoms of coronavirus (they include fever, cough, sore throat, respiratory symptoms and muscle aches); if it has been five or more days after you were exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus; and if they are meeting indoors with someone potentially exposed to the virus and want to make sure they are negative. Applicants must provide their name and address. The delivery will be in charge of the Postal Service and the shipping cost will not be charged.
Due to the wave of infections that is hitting the country, especially on the east coast, rapid tests have been in high demand in pharmacies and facilities that offer them. Images of long waiting lines and testing shortages had led Biden to face serious criticism. In response, before Christmas it announced the purchase of 500 million tests, of which 420 million have already been purchased, and this week it committed to another 500 million more.
One of the problems caused by the delay in the delivery of the tests is that the citizens would be receiving the first ones at the end of January. That would make it difficult for the measure to mitigate the spike in infections caused by the highly transmissible omicron variant. However, starting this Saturday, it is expected that those with private health insurance can request reimbursement for the tests they buy themselves.
In addition to being able to order the free tests online, tests will also be available at some community health centers, rural clinics and federal locations, officials said.
Subscribe here to the EL PAÍS América newsletter and receive all the key information on current affairs in the region
Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.