COVID-19 home testing kits are pictured in a store window during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, U.S., January 19, 2022.
Carlo Allegri | Reuters
The Biden administration said on Monday it was offering another round of free home Covid tests to US households ahead of the holiday season, when more people gather indoors and the virus typically spreads to higher levels.
Starting Monday, Americans can use COVIDtests.gov to request four free tests per household. Those who have not ordered any tests this fall can now place two orders for a total of eight tests, according to the website.
The administration in September allowed people to request an initial round of four free tests through the website, resuming a federal program that was temporarily shut down during a political struggle over Covid funding.
Home testing is a critical tool to protect against the virus, especially now that laboratory PCR tests – the traditional method of detecting Covid – have become more expensive and less accessible since the government ended the public health emergency in May.
However, demand for tests, along with Covid vaccines and treatments, has plummeted in the past year as cases and public concern about the virus eased from earlier in the pandemic.
Only a small share of Americans seem worried about Covid disrupting their vacation plans this fall and winter.
About 3 in 10 Americans said they are worried about getting seriously ill from Covid or spreading the virus to people close to them during the holidays, according to voting was released Friday by health policy research organization KFF.
Fewer than half were worried about the possibility of a new surge of Covid during the winter, which happened in previous years of the pandemic, according to the poll.
However, signs of a winter Covid wave are emerging.
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 marks an 8.6% increase over the previous week.
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