Every family is entitled to FREE Covid tests ahead of Thanksgiving get togethers as part of $600million Biden project to prevent wave of cases
Every family in the US has the right to order up to eight free Covid tests this winter to help prevent the spread of the virus to loved ones.
Families were offered four tests per household at the end of September, but this has now been expanded to a further four swabs – worth $12 per pack.
The tests — made available through a $600 million grant to testing providers — can be ordered online at CovidTests.gov and will take at least two weeks to arrive.
They’re being offered ahead of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, but the update comes too late for Thanksgiving — as orders must already have been placed to guarantee the swabs’ arrival.
Covid cases are currently rising again, with wastewater monitoring showing the concentration of Covid particles increased by five per cent in the week to November 8. Flu cases are also rising, with numbers reported increasing by 60 per cent in the week to November 12. the latest available.
Families were offered four tests per household at the end of September, but are now receiving four more tests. About one in ten households have ordered the tests so far
The above shows estimates of Covid cases according to wastewater monitoring. It shows that the number of cases is increasing again
The above shows flu cases in the US, showing that these are also increasing
A total of 14.5 million homes have ordered free Covid tests so far, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services told DailyMail.com.
Dawn O’Connell, the head of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) – which assisted in the Covid response – said: ‘We are going to see families coming together with older loved ones and younger loved ones (later this year) .
‘It is important that they can protect their loved ones from Covid as we enter the winter months.
“So we think opening up (CovidTests.Gov) right before the winter holidays really start will be very important for the American people, to provide this access again for the free four tests.”
She added: ‘We know the tests will be good for the next few months, but they won’t be good forever.
“And that’s why we think it’s important that we go ahead and get them into the hands of the American people so they can use them and protect themselves as we head into winter.”
The Biden administration has invested $600 million in local testing companies that will produce an estimated 200 million swabs.
The tests are rapid antigen tests, where a cotton swab is placed in the nose and mouth and then mixed with a solution to give results within 30 minutes.
Online orders take seven to 12 days to ship, the website says, and then take several more days to arrive at home.
Some of the swabs delivered may say they are past their expiration date, ASPR said, but they pointed out that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already agreed to extend the expiration date.
Covid tests are also available at pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens, although one test costs $10 or two for $23.99.
The tests offered can only detect Covid and not other seasonal threats such as the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
The $600 million has been invested with twelve domestic manufacturers and is the leftover money from the last Covid bill passed in Congress.
Congress has managed to recover $30 billion in unused relief funds following a deal between Biden and Republicans to raise the debt ceiling. But officials said there was still enough left to spend on further testing.
CovidTests.gov first opened in January 2022 to distribute 500 million tests to households, with each household able to order four swabs.
Official data shows that the Covid positivity rate – or the proportion of tests picking up the virus – is no longer falling. This suggests that the number of infections may increase again
And this graph shows how the number of people hospitalized with the flu begins to increase as winter approaches
This map shows flu activity by state. This shows that activity is highest in Louisiana and Puerto Rico
It was relaunched in December 2022, with households once again allowed to order four tests each – and has now been relaunched for a third time in September this year.
Wastewater monitoring reported by Biobot suggests that Covid cases are increasing, with the virus concentration rising from 425 to 444 copies per milliliter (ml) of sewage.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also indicates that cases may rise, with the positivity rate remaining at eight percent for two weeks through the week ending November 11.
The number of hospital admissions due to Covid-19 is also rising: in the week to November 11, the number of admissions was 16,000, compared to almost 15,000 the week before. However, this is still well below the 24,000 recorded in the same period last year.
CDC data also indicates an increase in flu infections 3,002 recorded in the week to November 12 – a 60 per cent increase on the same time the week before.
CDC experts say this figure is a huge undercount because most people who get the flu are not tested or have their infections recorded.
Covid vaccines have also been made available to anyone aged six months and over to help prevent infections, although officials say only people aged over 75 need the jabs.
The latest data up to early November shows that 36 million adults have been given the shot, including 3.5 million children, of the more than 329 million people eligible.
By comparison, an estimated 91 million Americans – or 34 percent of the adult population – have signed up for the flu vaccine.
And 11 million people over the age of 60, or 13 percent of the age group, have signed up to get the shot against infection with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).