The Biden administration is again offering some free COVID-19 testing to all U.S. households as it unveils contingency plans for potential outbreaks of the coronavirus this winter.
After a three-month hiatus, the administration is offering four rapid virus tests through covidtests.gov starting Thursday, a senior administration official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the program. Covid-19 infections already showed a marked increase after the Thanksgiving holiday and is expected to see even more increases from indoor gatherings and travel around Christmas and New Year.
The administration is putting staff and equipment on standby if necessary to help overwhelmed hospitals and nursing homes, as was needed during previous waves of the virus. There have been no requests for assistance so far, but anti-mutation teams, ventilators and personal protective equipment are ready, the official said.
The Biden administration is also urging states and local governments to do more to encourage people to get an updated bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, which scientists say is more effective in protection against serious illness and death from currently circulating variants. The government is reiterating best practices for nursing homes and long-term care facilities for virus prevention and treatment, and is urging regulators and governments to encourage residents to Vulnerable to new vaccination.
The plan comes as the administration is trying to convince most Americans to take up-to-date booster drugs as cases and deaths have fallen from the pandemic’s high and most people accepted to return to most of their pre-pandemic activities.
The official said funding for new tests has been reallocated from other virus programs as the White House struggles to get congressional support for additional emergency funding for COVID. -19. The official declined to provide details on how much money is being spent on the new tests or from which programs they are redirected.