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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The White House said Friday a new website, COVIDTests.gov, will begin accepting orders Jan. 19 for free rapid tests shipped to Americans' homes.

Why it matters: The White House emphasized the importance of testing during the Omicron surge, with President Biden on Thursday announcing plans for the government to have 1 billion tests.

Driving the news: Americans can order four tests per residential address beginning Jan. 19 from the website.

  • The tests will ship within 7 to 12 days of ordering, senior administration officials said during a press call Friday, but that timeline could shorten as the program ramps up.
  • The U.S. Postal Service will package and deliver the tests, with orders in the continental U.S. sent through first class package service.
  • There will also be a call line for Americans who lack internet access to order tests.

What they're saying: "There's lots of ways to get tests, and this is just one more," a senior administration official explained.

Flashback: The debacle surrounding the rollout of the HealthCare.gov website during the Obama administration looms over a new government website, but senior administration officials said they are confident the site will keep up with demand.

  • The U.S. Digital Service, a group of government technologists, has assisted the Postal Service with the website.
  • "We didn't start from scratch," a senior administration official said, adding that, the Postal Service already has a "website that does sell goods to the public and has for quite some time. Of course, every website launch poses some risks, we're quite cognizant of that."

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.

Why 401(k) rollovers are so annoying

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If you happened to change jobs recently, you may have tried to transfer your retirement account from your former employer into an Individual Retirement Account or your new employer's 401(k) plan. If so, you probably encountered a bureaucratic gantlet — and you're not alone.

Why it matters: Kludgey processes around retirement account transfers result in people losing track of their funds, giving up important tax advantages, or otherwise disadvantaging themselves and being less prepared for retirement.

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.