500 Million At-Home COVID Tests To Be Mailed To Americans in Coming Weeks
President Joe Biden announced this week that 500 million at-home rapid tests have been purchased for Americans and will be made available in the coming weeks.
On Tuesday, Biden shared the news on the tests in a speech addressing the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic and, more specifically, the Omicron variant. He indicated that the administration will be disseminating the tests through the mail so every American has access to testing.
It’s not yet clear how many tests each household will have at their disposal, but a senior administration official told CNN they were “working through all the details” and will “have those in the coming weeks.” The official also reportedly said the "first deliveries" of the half-billion tests will happen in January and the website associated with them will launch "in January or around January as well."
As of Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that the Omicron variant is now the most dominant strain in the United States and accounts for more than 73 percent of the new coronavirus cases in recent weeks. Omicron has only been in the United States for under a month but appears to have a higher rate of transmission, more so than other variants like Delta.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, emphasized on the Today show on Tuesday that people should heed the warnings they’ve heard because they’re “not an overreaction.”
"You’re dealing with a virus that has an unprecedented capability of spreading extremely rapidly. We’ve really not seen anything like this before. It has a doubling time of about two days,” he explained. "It very well may be less severe; we’re hoping that’s the case, and we’re hoping as this evolves here in the United States, that that will be our experience. But even if it is, the quantity of infections given the extraordinary efficiency of spread might actually obviate that diminution in severity to the point where you still get a lot of significant disease, so we cannot take this lightly at all."