Biden Administration to Distribute 500 Million At-Home COVID-19 Tests for Free Due to Omicron

Ahead of a planned speech on concerns over the now-dominant Omicron variant, the Biden administration announces "new actions" toward fighting the spread.

President Joe Biden stands at a podium

Image via Getty/Chip Somodevilla

President Joe Biden stands at a podium

Marking the implementation of something that should have been carried out much sooner, at least immediately upon the former VP taking office, the Biden administration said Tuesday that it would distribute half a billion at-home COVID-19 tests amid Omicron variant concerns.

In a statement shared early Tuesday morning ahead of a planned address to the nation from the president, the White House detailed an assortment of what it’s billing as “new actions” designed to assist in the fight against Omicron, which is now the dominant variant in the U.S.

The administration is buying 500 million at-home rapid tests “this winter,” with the stated plan of distributing the tests for free to “Americans who want them” starting in January of next year. Per the White House, a special website will be launched that provides info on how to get the tests delivered for free.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many tests would be allowed per household. Also not immediately clear was why, exactly, this is only just now happening as we enter yet another year of the pandemic era. As a general reminder, the pandemic began in early 2020. In a matter of days, the year will be 2022.

Other “new actions” on the agenda are the setting up of more federal testing sites, the launching of additional pop-up vaccination clinics, the deployment of assisting medical personnel (i.e. military doctors and similar titles), and more.

As for Biden’s upcoming speech, White House press secretary Jen Psaki—per the Associated Press—said Monday that the POTUS isn’t going to call for lockdowns. The focus will instead remain on vaccines and boosters.

Still not vaccinated and/or boostered? Change that. If you are vaccinated and boostered, stay vigilant and considerate by sticking with the masked-up-and-distanced approach whenever possible.

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