The Biden administration launched its website for households to request free at-home COVID-19 tests on Tuesday.
In collaboration with the U.S. Postal Service, COVIDtests.gov went live on Tuesday, a day before its initial launch date. Every home in the U.S. is eligible to receive four at-home COVID-19 tests at no extra cost, according to the website. Tests will start shipping in late January and take 7-12 days to ship.
“COVIDtests.gov is up and running early to help prepare for the full launch tomorrow,” the website states. “We have tests for every residential address in the U.S.”
The Biden administration is providing rapid antigen tests that return results within 30 minutes, with no lab drop-off required. The tests are effective for those with and without symptoms of COVID-19 as well as those who are or are not up to date on their vaccines, according to the site.
Olivia Couch, a first-year, said that she had ordered tests off of the website.
“You just have to click two buttons and put your address in,” she said. “It’s super easy.”
In addition to ordering at-home testing kits, the site also features resources for people who may be in immediate need of testing. The website also has information on what to do if you test positive or negative.
Aside from testing, the website encourages people to get vaccinated, wear masks and continue social distancing.
“To ensure equity and access for all Americans, the Administration will also launch a call line to help those unable to access the website to place orders, and work with national and local community-based organizations to support the nation’s hardest-hit and highest-risk communities in requesting tests,” a statement from The White House stated.
James Carroll, a first-year, said that Biden’s response to the pandemic has been better than that of the last administration. A bigger issue, he said, was peoples’ responses.
“A big problem is trying to get the public to cooperate, in a sense, because I feel like we live in a very polarized time,” Carroll said. “So, it's kind of difficult to get a part of the population — who does not respect you and wants to actively undermine you in every way — to get them to cooperate.”
Although UR students have been able to order tests to their on-campus mailboxes, some groups may not have the same access. USPS is only delivering COVID-19 tests to residential addresses. Those living in multi-unit apartment buildings and people experiencing homelessness have already run into problems when ordering the tests.
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Households with more than four members will also be short of self-test kits in an effort from the administration “to promote broad access” to the tests.
Kevin Davis, an employee at the UR post office, said the distribution of tests from Mail Services should go smoothly.
Senior Reda Ansar said she thought giving access to COVID-19 tests through the website was a good move from the Biden administration.
“I hope it does make a difference because I know that in some parts of the country people have had trouble getting tests,” she said, “and for some people, if they don't have health insurance in certain circumstances, you might have to pay for tests and they're expensive. So I think it's a good move, and I hope it helps. I hope people use it.”
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