Jan 18, 2022 - Health

Government website for free COVID tests launches early

 COVID-19 rapid at-home test kits rest on a table

COVID-19 rapid at-home test kits. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The website where Americans can request free, at-home rapid COVID-19 tests from the government launched Tuesday and is now accepting orders.

Driving the news: The website went live in its beta phase and is operating at a limited capacity a day before its official launch. Every home in the U.S. is eligible for up to four COVID tests, according to the website.

  • The beta launch aims to address troubleshooting and "ensure as smooth of an official launch tomorrow as possible," a White House official said.

Background: President Biden announced the program in December, amid mounting criticism for not making at-home tests widely available ahead of the emergence of the Omicron variant, which has driven up infections across the U.S.

What's next: The site is expected to officially launch mid-morning Wednesday, the official said.

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