Coronavirus: 3rd round of free rapid COVID-19 tests available from US government

WASHINGTON — Need to stock up on at-home COVID-19 tests? You’re in luck: The government is offering a third round of free rapid antigen tests to American households.

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According to NPR, COVIDtests.gov was updated Monday to say, “Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order a third round of free at-home tests. Order yours today.”

A link directed visitors to the U.S. Postal Service website, where they could fill out a form to have eight tests shipped to their homes for free. Each household received four tests during the previous rounds in January and March.

Overall, the program, funded by the American Rescue Plan, has provided 70 million households with 350 million tests, NPR reported. Private insurance companies and Medicare Part B also must cover the cost of eight free rapid tests per person each month, according to the federal government.

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The test distribution update came as the rate of new COVID-19 cases appeared to be rising in the United States and declining globally, according to The New York Times. As of Monday, the U.S. was averaging 95,813 new cases per day, up 57% from two weeks earlier, the newspaper reported. The worldwide average was 553,477 new cases per day, down 4% from 14 days earlier.

As for fatalities, the U.S. averaged 301 deaths per day – a decrease of 9% from two weeks earlier, the newspaper reported. The global average was 1,724 daily deaths, down 31% from 14 days earlier.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reported Monday that 66.4% of the U.S. population is considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19. About 46.4% of fully vaccinated residents have received a booster dose of a coronavirus vaccine, the agency said.

Globally, about 65.6% of people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, compared with just 15.9% of the population in low-income countries, Oxford University’s Our World in Data project reported Tuesday.