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U.S. households can order 4 free COVID-19 tests starting Jan. 19 -White House

Stock MarketsJan 14, 2022 05:31PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Take home COVID-19 self testing kits provided by the District of Columbia government, which provides city residents four free take home tests per day, are seen in this illustration taken January 11, 2022. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/Illustration

By Jeff Mason and David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. households can order four free at-home COVID-19 tests from the website COVIDTests.gov starting on Jan. 19 with shipping expected within seven to 12 days of ordering, the White House said on Friday.

The batch of free tests are aimed at easing a shortage of COVID-19 tests across the country amid increased demand during the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

The U.S. government has contracted already for more than 420 million tests, the White House said.

President Joe Biden has pledged to procure 1 billion free tests for Americans, and more may be ordered in the future. "We're not saying we're stopping there," one senior administration official told reporters on a conference call.

The administration also plans to launch a phone line for people who do not have access to the web to order tests.

Once ordered, the tests will ship to U.S. households by the U.S. Postal Service. Each household is limited to four masks.

American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein said the union had agreed to allow the USPS to use up to 7,000 temporary workers to label and package the test kits at 43 existing facilities. Many of those are holiday workers being held over for the project.

The kits could be mailed to as many as 160 million U.S. addresses, Dimondstein said. The USPS has already brought in some labeling machines. “We’re off and running,” Dimondstein said.

The Biden administration has contracted for more than 420 million tests and additional contracts will be awarded over the coming weeks, the White House said. It expects to pay some $4 billion to cover the first 500 million tests Biden promised, the administration official said.

Fighting the pandemic is one of Biden's top priorities and its persistence, coupled with fatigue among the public, has hurt his approval ratings roughly a year after he took office promising to do a better job of taming the virus than his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.

Critics have said that while the administration focused its attention on getting Americans vaccinated, it did not do enough to encourage mask-wearing and spur testing, a deficit the White House has seemed to try to address with the at-home test deliveries and a pledge to get more masks out to the public as well.

U.S. households can order 4 free COVID-19 tests starting Jan. 19 -White House
 

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Comments (3)
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader 9 hours ago
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more lies from antivaccers on this site this time about masks..,. properly worn, research has shown, masks Do slow down the spread of covid-19 by as much as 80%
Thomas Simpson
Thomas Simpson Jan 14, 2022 6:27PM ET
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Operation Warped Reaction
David CA
ILoveQE Jan 14, 2022 4:56PM ET
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It has been proven several times, that wearing masks does not stop the spread of the CCP virus.
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader 9 hours ago
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ILoveqe,,,you are promoting another lie by the far right and antivaccers, ...the fact is..it has been proven by the mayo clinic the US Navy, the CDC, and WHO, that masks offer a Protection rate as high as 80%
 
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