Just in time for the holiday season, the Biden administration is offering Americans a fresh round of free at-home coronavirus tests through the Postal Service.
The administration revived the dormant program in September, announcing then that households could order four free tests through a federal website, covidtests.gov. Beginning Monday, households may order an additional four tests — or eight tests if they had not ordered any in the previous round.
Hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19 are far below what they were during the worst stretches of the pandemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 1.1 million people in the United States.
Hospital admissions of patients with Covid ticked up this summer, but they began declining slightly in September and have held fairly steady in recent weeks. About 16,000 people were admitted to hospitals with the virus in the week that ended Nov. 11, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Private insurers had previously been required to cover up to eight at-home tests per month, but that requirement ended in May with the expiration of the public health emergency for the coronavirus, making it harder for many Americans to get tests without footing the bill.
Separately from the Postal Service program, the federal Department of Health and Human Services says it is providing more than four million tests per week to long-term care facilities, schools, community health centers and food banks.