The Biden administration’s free Covid-19 at-home tests are finally ready to be sent to Americans – but delivery could take seven to 12 days, which is generally longer than a person with the virus is infectious.
Americans can begin ordering the tests on a new government website starting January 19, a senior administration official said in a press call on Friday. Each household will be able to order up to four tests.
The tests will ship within seven to 12 days of the order being made, said the official.
‘We anticipate that that window will shorten as we get further along in this program,’ the official said.
The tests will be delivered first class by the US Postal Service. But Alaska, Hawaii and US territories will receive them via priority mail which may take longer.
Americans without access to the internet can call to order tests.
The site to order tests went live on Friday, but stated that ordering would start on January 19. Americans have not had to wait in a queue for advance ordering.
‘There’s lots of ways to get tests, and this is just one more,’ the administration official said.
The official added that the administration ‘didn’t start from scratch’, as the Postal Service has a ‘website that does sell goods to the public and has for quite some time’.
‘Of course, every website launch poses some risks,’ the official said. ‘We’re quite cognizant of that.’
The tests will be shipped as some parts of the US reach peaks for new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant. By the time some tests arrive, coronavirus cases may be on the decline, according to some health experts’ readings.
News of the tests being ready comes a day after President Joe Biden announced that he is ordering an additional 500million at-home kits, upping the total order to 1billion.
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