- Each US household can request four free at-home Covid tests next week
- The program is aimed at preventing a winter surge of cases
- READ MORE: Covid infection rates are ALREADY falling in parts of the US
The Biden administration will once again offer free at-home Covid tests to all US families starting next week.
Each household will be entitled to request four rapid tests by mail starting September 25 by going to the covid.gov website.
The program, which will cost $600 million, is aimed at combating a winter surge of Covid cases, amid the spread of the Eris and BA.2.86 variants.
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra said: ‘We will once again begin our program to provide Americans with an opportunity to request tests.’
Starting September 25, each US household can order up to four free Covid tests from covidtests.gov
To date, the Biden administration has shipped more than 755 million free Covid tests across the US.
The program began in early 2022 when retailers ran out of tests and was suspended in May after the administration declared the Covid public health emergency over.
The tests are intended to be used for the rest of the year and will include directions on checking expiration dates, the HHS said Wednesday.
It comes in response to an upswing in Covid infections and hospitalizations in recent months – though there are already signs the latest wave has peaked.
Latest data shows there were 20,538 Covid admissions to US hospitals in the week to September 9, the latest date with data.
That marked a 7.7 percent rise in a week — the slowest uptick since early July when hospitalizations were at a record low.
There are also signs that Covid deaths are beginning to level off.
A total of 844 were recorded in the week to August 19, the latest available. Data for the following week is incomplete, but it currently suggests 860 fatalities linked to the virus were recorded over this period — an increase of 1.8 percent.
Though updated vaccines have been rolled out and the latest wave appears mild, experts believe infections could continue to rise and cause disruptions due to things like staff absences.
Dr Amy Kirby, head of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) wastewater monitoring program, said this week: ‘Hopefully, with updated vaccinations, we will not see a big winter surge as we have in the past.’
‘But it’s really too early to tell.’
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