USPS now allows customers to order more COVID tests
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is constantly evolving its delivery process while dealing with staffing shortages and budget cuts. These changes haven’t always been welcomed: In late 2021, the USPS began slowing delivery of some packages, and complaints about mail delays haven’t stopped. It’s not all bad news, though – the agency just announced an exciting update that might appease naysayers. Read on to find out what the USPS is finally letting you do.
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The USPS has been responsible for shipping and delivering free COVID tests to homes since January 2022, under an initiative by the President Joe Biden. For almost two months, people in the United States could not subscribe to a plan (with four tests included in each package) per household via a Swiss Post portal. But this limit has been lifted.
The order form on the USPS website now says everyone in the United States is eligible for another round of free testing. “U.S. households can place a total of two separate orders for free COVID-19 rapid home tests (four tests per order),” the Postal Service states. “If an order has already been placed for your address, you can place a second order now.”
On March 7, the White House posted a video of President Biden informing people in the United States that the USPS portal had been updated to allow two separate test requests from each household. “Today I want you to know that if you have already ordered free tests, you can now order another set, shipped directly to your home and free of charge, so we are ready no matter what COVID-19 brings” , did he declare. . “Go visit covidtests.gov. Get your free test today.”
According to officials, it appears that the government has always planned to publish more free tests on time. The Biden administration said it had committed to buy a total of 1 billion home COVID tests for free distribution in the United States when the initiative was announced, but only 500 million tests were expected to be available to order when the USPS portal opened on the 18th January.
“The way we set this up was to make sure every household that wanted these tests could get them before we made a second round available,” Tom Inglesbythe White House testing coordinator, told NPR.
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The USPS received a bit of a backlash in February over delivery delays for the first round of free COVID tests. The Postal Service said the tests should ship within seven to 12 days of ordering, but according to NPR, some tests weren’t sent within that window due to a manufacturing delay.
But officials say that won’t be the case with future shipments. “As we open this second round, we’re going to ship immediately,” Inglesby told the outlet. “We have a fairly large stock of new tests ready to ship, so we expect orders to be delivered quickly.”
More than half of American households ordered tests in January and February of this year, as NPR reports. On March 2, the USPS revealed that it had already delivered over 68 million test kits with four tests per kit to households across the country, meaning a total of over 270 million COVID tests have already been requested.
But the program was created when the coronavirus was a much more widespread problem – fueled by the increased spread of the Omicron variant in late 2021 and early 2022 – and tests were harder to come by. The number of cases has dropped significantly since then, dropping more than 28% in last week aloneaccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Biden administration does not plan to retire the program, however. According to NPR, officials are emphasizing a return to the normal phase, but are pushing free testing in case a new variant arises and increases infections again. At the same time, Inglesby told the outlet that the federal government is buying all of these tests “to keep the testing infrastructure strong.”
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