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Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden announced Thursday that his administration is buying an additional 500 million rapid tests to distribute to people in the U.S. for free.

Driving the news: The administration previously bought 500 million rapid tests in December, which are scheduled to arrive this month. With the purchase announced today, the U.S. will have 1 billion tests in total "to meet future demand," Biden said.

What we’re watching: Biden said the administration will announce next week how it will make “high-quality masks” available to the American people.

  • The administration will also roll out a website next week “where you can order a free test” and have it “shipped to your home.”

What he's saying: "For those who want an immediate test, we continue to add FEMA testing sites so that there are more free in-person testing sites," Biden said.

  • The president reminded the public that those with health insurance can get reimbursed for eight tests a month, and for those without insurance, "we have over 20,000 free testing sites all around the country."

Go deeper: America once again faces COVID test shortages

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2022 - Health

Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron

Three COVID-19 testing companies place testing locations outside Grand Central Terminal on Jan. 14 in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Experts are warning that subsequent COVID-19 variants are likely to come after Omicron, AP reports.

Why it matters: The warnings come as there's no guarantee that subsequent variants "will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them," underscoring the need for widespread vaccination, AP writes.

Minneapolis and St. Paul to require vaccine or test for indoor dining

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

New vaccine-or-test requirements for indoor dining and drinking in Minneapolis and St. Paul take effect Wednesday.

The big picture: A growing number of major cities, including Boston, Chicago and New York, have instituted similar requirements in an effort to protect public health.

Yes, but: Questions about enforcement, logistics and effectiveness of the temporary measures here remain.

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: The Weather Prediction Center said in a storm summary Monday that winter storm warnings are still in effect for portions of the Central Appalachians, Ohio Valley, interior Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast, while portions of the Central Appalachians and coastal New England are under high wind warnings.