The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

US Government Is Delivering Free At-Home COVID Tests Again

Number of weekly laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations | Source: CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN)

Nationwide COVID-19 cases are back on the rise. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of COVID hospitalizations increased by about eight percent in the week of September 9—tallying about 20,500 cases—compared to the previous week. In June, new COVID hospitalizations per week were as low as 6,300 cases. Although steadily rising, the number of hospitalizations remains minuscule compared to numbers from previous COVID waves, noted Gigi Gronvall, a biosecurity expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “These increases are more alarming by statistics than in reality,” Dr. Gronvall added. Still, the government is once again providing free at-home test kids for citizens.

Many scientists are scared at the moment—not only because of rising hospitalizations, but also due to the holiday season (and the flu that comes along with it). The holiday season has proven to be a warning for rising COVID cases in the past. Previously, the government shipped more than 755 million free COVID test kits throughout all of 2022 until June 1 of this year. This program was halted when the supply of tests became scarce. A combination of these reasons is why the Biden Administration is restarting the Free At-Home COVID Test Program.

As of September 25, 2023, Americans can order up to four COVID test kits per household using the website COVIDtests.gov. The Biden Administration plans to run this program through the holidays, depending on demand for COVID tests. The first batch of tests will be shipped—for free—on October 2, handled by the US Postal Service. After that, the USPS plans to aim for one-week shipping after orders are placed.

“[President Biden] believes it’s very important to make sure that all Americans have access to tests, and so we will once again begin our program to provide Americans with an opportunity to request tests,” said Xavier Becerra, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHS has invested over $600 million into a dozen domestic COVID test manufacturers. They expect to receive 200 million tests from these manufacturers to distribute among the population.

“But, at this point, our focus is getting through the holidays and making sure folks can take a test if they’re going to see Grandma for Thanksgiving,” concluded Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary of the HHS. Make sure to keep you and your loved ones safe by testing for COVID in the upcoming holiday season.

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About the Contributor
Davin Shin, Staff Writer
Davin Shin ('26) is a Staff Writer for The Echo. He loves exploring controversial topics and sports. His hobbies include playing soccer, watching sports, reading, and hanging out with friends.