White House Rolls Out Free COVID Tests


Starting Jan. 16, the Biden administration began its distribution of half a billion free, at-home COVID-19 tests to eligible families, following up on promises of expanding the availability of testing sites and fighting the new Omicron surge. The tests can be ordered on COVIDtests.gov and will be mailed directly to American households by the USPS.

The new executive order will allow populated areas that were hit harder by the pandemic, people without insurance, and individuals without access to testing sites the resources to protect themselves from COVID-19. Additionally, President Biden is establishing at least 20,000 testing sites across 43 states–with more opening every week–and focusing the relief resources on regions that were hit hardest by the surge. 

The Administration invested nearly $6 billion in ARP funding to cover free testing for uninsured individuals, and support testing in correctional facilities, shelters for people experiencing homelessness, and mental health facilities,” the White House said in a press statement

Though there was widespread-hope that cases would decrease by this stage in the pandemic, that is not the reality. The US is currently averaging 777,453 new Covid-19 cases and 1,797 new deaths per day according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The Omicron variant now makes up 99.5% of COVID-19 cases, prompting Biden’s second attempt at increasing access to tests.

“Omicron is truly everywhere,” Dr. Megan Ranney, a professor of emergency medicine at Brown University’s School of Public Health, told CNN. “What I am so worried about over the next month or so is that our economy is going to shut down, not because of policies from the federal government or from the state governments, but rather because so many of us are ill.”

This is not March of 2020. Two hundred million people are vaccinated. We’re prepared. We know more

— President Joe Biden

As part of Loudoun County’s plan to combat the recent surge of COVID-19, officials maintain a website that provides pandemic updates, testing event details, their contact information, and various safety resources.

“Increasing access to testing is important as we see a surge in infection rates in our region,” said Loudoun County Health Director Dr. David Goodfriend. “Additionally, because it is possible for fully vaccinated people to become infected and unknowingly spread the virus, getting tested when you may have been exposed to COVID-19 or when you’re feeling sick is a critical step toward limiting the spread of the virus.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that Americans should use at-home tests at least five days after coming in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or for someone who has shown symptoms. Visit their website for information on quarantine protocols and testing information.

“The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society,” the CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said. “CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses. These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives.”

In this time of uncertainty and danger, most citizens are doing what they can to protect themselves and others from the unpredictable pandemic. To provide additional protection from the recent surge, the government is rolling out booster shots and distributing 400 million N95 masks, which are now available at local pharmacies. Additionally, places such as CVS, Giant, Walgreens, Inova, and Patient First offer free COVID-19 tests for more urgent cases. 

“This is not March of 2020,” Biden said during today’s speech. “Two hundred million people are vaccinated. We’re prepared. We know more.”