The Biden administration launched a website this week which allows Americans to order COVID-19 tests. The government will send out free, at-home rapid test kits to anyone who orders from the site.
According to the website, every household in the country can order up to four tests. It’s unclear, though, whether that number fluctuates based upon total number of people in the household.
The website went live in a beta phase today, which means that it is functional but not finalized. Programmers use beta phases to test the efficacy of the site’s (or product’s) infrastructure.
The beta launch addresses troubleshooting and “ensures as smooth of an official launch tomorrow [Wednesday] as possible,” a White House official said.
President Biden formally announced the initiative in December. His administration faced growing concerns regarding the widespread availability of testing. The emergence of the Omicron variant and its quick spread spurred the initiative, as well. Many Americans have been asking for more at-home testing options as cases continue to rise.
The site concludes its beta phases with an official launch tomorrow, mid-morning.
Biden Says It’s Your ‘Patriotic Duty’ to Get Vaccine
In December, while promising a distribution plan of at-home COVID-19 tests, President Biden encouraged Americans to take the vaccine in the name of patriotism. He also warned of impending sickness for the unvaccinated ahead of the 2021 holidays.
“If you’re not fully vaccinated, you have good reason to be concerned” about the Omicron variant, Biden also said. “You’re at a high risk of getting sick. And if you get sick, you’re likely to spread it to others including friends and family. The unvaccinated have a significantly higher risk of ending up in the hospital,” he added.
Biden also suggested that the unvaccinated face a larger threat of death if they decide to avoid the shot. “Almost everyone who has died from COVID-19 in the past many months has been unvaccinated,” he said.
How the Government Is Working With States to Administer More Tests
Speaking about the outlook of America amidst a pandemic, Biden said: “We’re prepared; we know more. We just have to stay focused. There is no challenge too big for America.”
Then, after the public address, the federal government proceeded to purchase 500 million rapid tests from vendors. Other initiatives exist, too, like Congress-sponsored legislation advocating for free masks, gloves, ventilators, and other PPE in the stockpile.
The government also deployed an additional 1,000 military doctors, nurses, and health care professionals to at-risk cities across the country for the months of January and February. Extra testing sites are also being constructed in certain states with overwhelmed hospitals. Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona, New Hampshire, and Vermont all received direct aid to help combat the spread of the virus.