US offers another round of free Covid tests by mail – The New York Times

Just in time for the holiday season, the Biden administration is offering a new round of free at-home coronavirus tests to Americans through the Postal Service.

The government restarted the dormant program in September, announcing at the time that households could order four free tests through the federal website From Monday, households can 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 well below levels during the worst phases of the pandemic, which has killed more than 1.1 million people in the United States.

Hospitalizations of patients with Covid rose sharply this summer, but they began to fall slightly in September and have remained fairly stable in recent weeks. About 16,000 people were hospitalized with the virus in the week ending Nov. 11, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Previously, private insurers were required to cover up to eight at-home tests per month. But that obligation ended in May with the expiration of the coronavirus public health emergency, making it harder for many Americans to get tests without footing the bill.

Separate 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.