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.
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.
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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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: White House Offers Free At-Home COVID Tests, Mailed Straight to Your Household — How Long Will They Last?