If you've run out of COVID-19 tests, you're in luck—the Biden administration recently announced that the program providing free COVID-19 tests, which was active until June 2023, will return as of September 25. Starting then you can go to the CDC website and request free tests, which will be shipped to your home. The Washington Post provides more details:
Starting Sept. 25, people can request four free tests per household through covidtests.gov. Officials say the tests are able to detect the latest variants and are intended to be used through the end of the year.
The return of the free testing program comes after Americans navigated the latest uptick in covid cases with free testing no longer widely available. The largest insurance companies stopped reimbursing the costs of retail at-home testing once the requirement to do so ended with the public health emergency in May. The Biden administration stopped mailing free tests in June.
I wish the program had never stopped, but I'm glad it's starting up again, as the United States is currently in a big COVID wave. A new COVID-19 forecast issued by Jay Weiland, which relies on wastewater data and forecast modeling, shows that COVID-19 infections in the United States are nearing levels of the pandemic's first 2020 peak, and also coming close to the Delta peak in late 2021. Yahoo explains further:
Viral wastewater levels are not far behind all of the pandemic's 2020 peaks except for one—the initial peak of March 2020, which they've already surpassed. And they lag just slightly levels seen during the deadly Delta peak of late 2021, according to Biobot Analytics, which monitors such data for the federal government.
A forecast issued this week by Jay Weiland, a leading COVID modeler, came to the same conclusions. On Thursday, Weiland estimated that 650,000 Americans are becoming infected daily, with 1 in 51 Americans currently infected with COVID.
Again, I'm glad this program is starting again, and I'll definitely be requesting more tests in a few days when the system is back online. I also know that while it's good to test if you feel sick, the best course of action is to try to prevent catching (or becoming reinfected with) COVID in the first place–and you know what helps with that? Masking with KN95s or better, cleaning the air, and avoiding crowded indoor spaces. Now, if only the Biden administration would get to work on providing free respirators and clean air for everyone!