Free Covid-19 tests are coming, but where’s the website?

Free Covid-19 tests will be distributed in north-east London on January 3, 2022. Photo: Tolga Akmen (Getty Images)

The White House and the US Postal Service are “finalizing” plan to send Americans free Covid-19 tests to their homes, according to a new report from the Washington Post citing anonymous sources. But the website where people can request the free tests has still not been announced and its absence does not inspire confidence that President Joe Biden can actually pull this off.

The Biden administration has announced on 21st of December that it planned to send 500 million free Covid-19 tests to Americans, in response to the intense backlash when White House press secretary Jen Psaki mocked the idea of ​​sending out free tests for just a few weeks earlier.

Psakis indignant question, “should we just send one to every American?” became a depressing symbol of President Biden’s failure to contain a worsening pandemic, especially at a time when other rich countries already sent out free quick tests. The White House has changed course, but it has yet to prove that it can efficiently deliver basic health services, often catching up instead of being proactive about the threat of Covid-19.

The White House awarded its first contract on Thursday to test manufacturers, according to the Washington Post, and an announcement about how to get the free tests is likely to come next week. But there is no word yet on which domain can be used for people to request the free tests. The choice of domain will likely determine how easy it will be for scammers to impersonate the site and steal information from the millions of Americans likely to scramble to access it.

One of the issues currently standing in the way of implementation of the White House strategy for free tests appears to be ensuring that the US Postal Service has enough staff to deliver the tests. The USPS is reportedly working to extend the contract for its seasonal staff, the 40,000 or so people it has hired to bridge the busy winter holidays. According to the Post, the Post transported approximately 13.2 billion pieces of mail and packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. And adding 500 million free tests is a bit like adding another Christmas rush in January.

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The US reported 763,878 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, according to BNO Newsroom, with three states not contributing their daily reports. The country also reported 1,797 new deaths, with 126,166 Americans currently hospitalized with Covid-19. Deaths have stagnated, but hospitalizations continue to rise as infections become more common with the omicron variant. The number of hospital admissions in the US has risen by 6,618 since Wednesday.

Americans are struggling with this ommicron phase of the pandemic without the financial support that came in 2020. And although Republicans fought tooth and nail against giving money to the average person, the average voter doesn’t think about that. To most people, they know they got $2,000 when Donald Trump was president and nothing more than encouraging words of support from Biden.

When can you expect those free tests by mail? That’s still up in the air, but hopefully the Biden administration won’t screw this up.

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