Free at-home Covid tests available starting Monday

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

Carlo Allegri Reuters

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

Starting Monday, Americans can use to request four free tests. Those who did not order tests this fall can now place two orders for a total of eight tests, according to the website.

The administration in September allowed people to request an initial round of four free tests through the website, restarting a federal program that was temporarily shut down during a political fight over Covid funding.

Testing at home is a vital tool to protect against the virus, especially now that PCR lab tests – the traditional way to detect Covid – have become more expensive and less accessible since the government ended the emergency public health in May.

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

More CNBC health coverage

It appears that only a small portion of Americans are worried about Covid disrupting their vacation plans this fall and winter.

About three in 10 Americans said they worry about getting seriously ill from Covid or spreading the virus to people close to them over the holidays, according to a poll released Friday by the ‘ health policy research group KFF.

Less than half were concerned about the possibility of another Covid surge in the winter, which has happened in previous years of the pandemic, the poll said.

However, signs of a Covid winter wave are emerging.

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. That marks an 8.6% increase on the previous week.

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