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Friday, September 22, 2023

U.S. Will Resume Providing Free At-Residence Covid Exams

The Biden administration, looking forward to a potential winter surge of Covid-19, introduced on Wednesday that it was reviving its program of providing Individuals free coronavirus exams by the mail and would spend $600 million to purchase exams from a dozen home producers.

The web site for this system, covidtests.gov, will start accepting orders on Monday, and households will obtain 4 exams. Daybreak O’Connell, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response on the Division of Well being and Human Providers, stated the cash would fund the acquisition of 200 million exams to replenish the nation’s stockpile as exams are despatched out.

However a byproduct of this system, Ms. O’Connell stated, is that it’ll shore up home manufacturing capability within the occasion of one other critical coronavirus surge. And if there’s a spike in demand, she stated, the division has given the producers permission to promote the exams on to retailers forward of the federal government.

Coronavirus hospitalizations have been on the rise in the US, although they continue to be low in contrast with earlier stretches of the pandemic, and free exams at the moment are tougher to return by for a lot of Individuals. Whereas personal insurers had beforehand been required to cowl as much as eight at-home exams monthly, that requirement ended when the Biden administration allowed the general public well being emergency for the coronavirus to run out in Might.

The administration first started providing free at-home coronavirus exams by the Postal Service early final yr after the Omicron variant triggered circumstances to soar. Greater than 600 million exams had been distributed earlier than officers halted this system late that summer time, citing an absence of funding. The administration then resumed providing exams late final yr earlier than halting this system once more this spring.

The announcement on Wednesday got here as President Biden’s well being secretary, Xavier Becerra, tried to drum up curiosity within the newly accepted coronavirus vaccines by getting his personal Covid and flu photographs at a CVS pharmacy in Washington. The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention really helpful final week that each one Individuals 6 months and older obtain at the least one dose of the reformulated Covid vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

With the chief executives of Pfizer and Moderna standing beside him, Mr. Becerra invoked his personal mom, who’s about to show 90 and, he stated, has not had Covid-19.

“I really feel snug, having gotten the photographs, that I might hug and kiss my mom and never be liable for getting her sick,” he stated, including, “Nobody is protected till everyone seems to be protected.”

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