HealthDay News — The days of getting free COVID-19 tests by mail are drawing to a close.
The Biden administration plans to stop sending test kits to Americans on September 2 in order to reserve remaining tests for a fall surge. Lack of funding from Congress is the reason for the change, NBC News reported, citing an unnamed senior administration official.
“If Congress provides funding, we will expeditiously resume distribution of free tests through covid.gov,” the source said. “Until then, we believe reserving the remaining tests for distribution later this year is the best course.”
The move comes as the stockpile of test kits is shrinking and fewer Americans are testing for COVID-19, though many may have been infected and even reinfected without knowing for sure. Anthony Fauci, MD, the president’s chief medical adviser, has said he believes the COVID-19 virus could become seasonal like the flu.
The government has distributed an estimated 600 million tests since the program began. “The administration has been clear about our urgent COVID-19 response funding needs,” the administration official told NBC News. “We have warned that congressional inaction would force unacceptable tradeoffs and harm our overall COVID-19 preparedness and response — and that the consequences would likely worsen over time.”
Though ordering tests from the federal government will not be possible, many people in the US will still be able to test for free or to get reimbursement through private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.