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, United States, January 19, 2022.
Carlo Allegri | Reuters
The Biden administration said Monday it will offer another round of free at-home Covid tests to U.S. households ahead of the holiday season, when more people gather indoors and the virus is usually detected. spreads to higher levels.
Starting Monday, Americans will be able to use COVIDtests.gov to request four free tests. Those who did not order any tests this fall can now place two orders for a total of eight tests, according to the website.
In September, the administration allowed people to request an initial round of four free tests through the site, taking over a federal program temporarily shuttered during a political fight over Covid funding.
Home testing is an essential 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 emergency public health in May.
But demand for testing, as well as Covid vaccines and treatments, has fallen over the past year as cases and public concern about the virus declined compared to the start of the pandemic.
Only a small portion of Americans seem concerned that Covid will disrupt their vacation plans this fall and winter.
About three in 10 Americans said they worry about getting seriously ill from Covid or spreading the virus to loved ones during the holidays, according to a report. survey published Friday by the health policy research organization KFF.
Less than half are worried about the possibility of another Covid surge over the winter, as happened in previous years of the pandemic, the poll found.
Yet signs of a winter wave of Covid are emerging. More than 16,200 Americans were hospitalized in the week ending November 11, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This represents an increase of 8.6% compared to the previous week.
The number of hospitalizations remains lower than the nearly 24,000 recorded at the same time last year.