White House Offers Free At-Home COVID Tests, Mailed Straight to Your Household — How Long Will They Last?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP/Shutterstock (12759403aj)President Joe Biden speaks about the government's COVID-19 response, in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Campus in WashingtonBiden, Washington, United States - 13 Jan 2022.
Andrew Harnik/AP/Shutterstock / Andrew Harnik/AP/Shutterstock

If you start getting messages this afternoon from friends and family telling you that you can receive free at-home COVID-19 tests — delivered by the U.S. Postal Service — through a government website, it’s not spam. The federal government is giving away up to four free at-home COVID-19 tests per U.S. household. A proliferation of at-home tests may help to spur a weakened economy as the nation moves into 2022.

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A day before the site was officially scheduled to launch, the White House opened COVIDTests.gov to the general public. Americans can order up to four free at-home tests which will be delivered straight to your home with your other mail. Orders are expected to ship in 7 to 12 days.

The site is slated to officially launch by mid-morning of Jan. 19. A White House official told U.S. News & World Report that the site is “currently in its beta phase” and operating at limited capacity as of the afternoon of Jan. 18.

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However, based on the flurry of news reports and tweets surrounding the free COVID-19 tests, the first round of available tests may not last very long. Last month, President Joe Biden announced that the government was purchasing 500 million at-home tests to start.

As of the 2020 Census report, there are 126.8 million U.S. households. Statista says 120 million of those households have broadband internet access. Meanwhile, 85% of the U.S. population owns a smartphone. If everyone who has immediate access to the internet orders four tests, the initial supply will go quickly.

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There’s no reason for anxiety, however. On Jan. 13, Biden announced he would double the federal government’s order to 1 billion tests. It’s within the realm of possibility that you’ll be able to claim a test — or tests — even if you don’t get to the COVIDTests.gov website right away. The website also provides resources in case you need a test immediately, including a list of 20,000+ free testing sites across the country.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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