There are nearly half of the 500 Million free COVID-19 tests provided by the Biden administration remain unclaimed amid a decline in virus cases.
The Biden administration purchased one billion at-home rapid COVID-19 tests to distribute to Americans, some being mailed directly beginning Jan.19. Orders can be made online at COVIDTests.gov, and tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering.
The White House says Americans have placed 68 million orders for packages of tests, which leaves about 46 percent of the stock of tests still available to be ordered.
On the first day of the COVID-19 test distribution, COVIDtests.gov received over 45 million orders, according to the White House. Officials say it now receives fewer than 100,000 orders a day.
Each household receives up to four free rapid tests per household, delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.
In December, there were more than 300 million at-home, rapid tests available in the U.S. market, up from 24 million in August—a more than 10-fold rise. With the tests provided by the Biden administration, the number of at-home, rapid tests available to the U.S. market rose to 375 million.
“We intend to sustain this market," Dr. Tom Inglesby, testing adviser to the COVID-19 response team, told The Associated Press. "We know the market is volatile and will come up and down with surges in variants.”
Earlier this week the senior adviser on testing announced that over 90 percent of free at-home COVID-19 tests ordered through a federal government website have been shipped. In January, the White House said about 60 million orders for the free tests were received within 10 days after launching the COVIDtests.gov site, a demand that was driven by the Omicron variant surge.
With COVID-19 measures easing, public health experts urge testing to minimize the spread.
In January, the Biden Administration required private insurers to cover eight free rapid tests per person, per month and in the spring, Medicare coverage will begin.
The public has been able to access tests through community hubs such as clinics and libraries with the COVID-19 tests provided by the Biden Administration.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on COVID testing.