WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – The Biden administration will once again offer free COVID-19 testing to all American households as part of its contingency plan for a possible surge in coronavirus cases this winter.
After a break of three months, the government will introduce four rapid test models available to every household in the country through covidtests.gov starting Thursday, a senior government official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to comment on the program.
COVID-19 infections have risen sharply since the Thanksgiving holiday, with travel and indoor gatherings expected to increase further around Christmas and New Years.
The government will reserve personnel and equipment in case they have to move to overwhelmed hospital accommodations, as happened in previous waves of the virus. The official said no requests for help have been received so far, although crisis kits, respirators and personal protective equipment have been prepared.
The Biden administration urged state and local governments to do more to encourage people to get the updated bivalent COVID-19 vaccines, which scientists say can help protect against serious illness and death from the variant now circulating. are more effective.
The government reiterated its prevention and treatment protocols for residences and long-stay centres, and urged managers and governments to encourage vaccination of vulnerable populations.
The government is having trouble persuading most Americans to get their booster shots. Infections and deaths are below their pandemic highs, and most people have resumed their previous activities.
The money for the new diagnostic tests has been reallocated from other virus programs, the official said, declining to say how much money would be devoted to the project or from which programs the money was diverted. The White House is trying to get authorization from Congress to get more energy funding to fight against COVID-19.