COVID-19 home test kits are pictured in a store window during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, USA, January 19, 2022.
Carlo Allegri | Reuters
The Biden administration said Monday it is offering another round of free at-home Covid testing to American households before the holidays, when more people gather indoors and the virus typically spreads at higher levels.
Starting Monday, Americans can request four free tests per household through COVIDtests.gov. Anyone who has not yet ordered tests this fall can now place two orders for a total of eight tests, according to the website.
The government in September allowed people to request an initial round of four free tests through the site, resuming a federal program that was temporarily halted during a political fight over Covid funding.
Home tests are a crucial tool to protect against the virus, especially as laboratory PCR tests – the traditional method of detecting Covid – have become more expensive and less accessible since the government ended the coronavirus emergency in May field of public health.
But demand for testing, along with Covid vaccines and treatments, has fallen sharply over the past year as case numbers and public concern about the virus declined from earlier in the pandemic.
Only a small portion of Americans appear concerned that Covid will disrupt their vacation plans this fall and winter.
About 3 in 10 Americans said they fear they will become seriously ill from Covid or spread the virus to people around them during the holidays, according to a poll released Friday by health policy research organization KFF.
Less than half were concerned about the potential for another Covid wave during the winter, which has occurred in previous years of the pandemic, the poll said.
Yet there are signs of a winter Covid wave.
More than 16,200 Americans were hospitalized in the week ending Nov. 11, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This represents an increase of 8.6% compared to the previous week.
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