Free at-home Covid tests are available from Monday

Free at-home Covid tests are available from Monday

  • The Biden administration said it is offering another round of free at-home coronavirus tests to American families before the holiday season.
  • Starting Monday, Americans can use the site to order four additional tests per household.
  • Demand for tests and other Covid products such as vaccines and treatments has declined over the past year as cases and public concern about the virus have waned from earlier in the pandemic.

Home testing kits for COVID-19 are pictured in a store window during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 19, 2022.

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

The Biden administration said Monday it is offering another round of free at-home coronavirus tests to American households ahead of the holiday season, when more people gather indoors and the virus typically spreads at higher levels.

Starting Monday, Americans can use the COVIDtests.gov website to request four free tests per household. Those who have not requested any tests this fall can submit two requests for a total of eight tests, according to the website.

The administration in September allowed people to order an initial round of four free tests through the site, resuming a federal program that had been temporarily shut down during a political battle over Covid funding.

Home tests are a crucial tool to protect against the virus, especially now that laboratory polymerase chain reaction (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.

But demand for tests, along with Covid vaccines and treatments, has declined over the past year as cases and public concern about the virus have waned from earlier in the pandemic.

More CNBC health coverage

Only a small percentage of Americans appear to be concerned about Covid disrupting their fall and winter vacation plans.

About 3 in 10 Americans said they worry they will get seriously ill from Covid or spread the virus to people close to them during the holidays, according to a poll released Friday by the health policy research organization KFF.

The poll said less than half were concerned about the possibility of another wave of Covid during the winter, which has happened in years prior to the pandemic.

However, signs of the winter Covid wave are beginning to appear.

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 represents an increase of 8.6% from the previous week.

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