The Biden administration’s program for United States residents to get free COVID tests delivered to their homes is now up and running. Households can now order up to 4 rapid COVID-19 tests on USPS.com, or at the program’s website, COVIDtests.gov.
How to Get Free Covid Tests on USPS.com
To place an order for testing kits, one must provide their contact information (first and last name) and shipping address. The person placing the order can also provide their email address, if they wish to receive shipping notifications.
The COVID-19 tests provided through the program:
- Are rapid antigen at-home tests, not PCR
- Can be taken anywhere
- Give results within 30 minutes (no lab drop-off required)
- Work whether or not you have COVID-19 symptoms
- Work whether or not you are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines
When Will I Get My Test Kit?
Once someone places an order, the White House estimates it will take USPS 7-12 days to deliver the test kit. Due to the longer lead time, infectious disease experts claim that ordering the tests while experiencing COVID-like symptoms may not be the best option.
Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert who is part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, has advised Americans to order the tests as a preventative measure, not while symptoms occur. According to the Schaffner, if someone orders a COVID-19 test from this program while symptomatic, it may be too late to catch it by the time USPS delivers the kit.
“If they wait until they have an issue, by the time the tests arrive, the optimal time for testing may well have passed,” he said. “If you’ve been exposed and you don’t have the tests available, you’ll have to find testing resources elsewhere.”
Will USPS Be Able to Deliver All These Covid Tests?
All in all, USPS will deliver 500 million rapid test kits as part of the program. While that figure represents a large amount of parcels to deliver in a relatively short amount of time, the delivery aspect of transporting these test kits isn’t daunting for the Postal Service. Rapid COVID-19 test kits come in small boxes, and since the majority of eCommerce parcels that USPS handles are small, letter carriers are well-equipped to handle it.
When asked how effective USPS will be at transporting these COVID-19 test kits, Bob Fisher, the Director of Strategic Analytics at Pirate Ship, said the following:
“The Postal Service has a chance to look really good with this program, or a chance to look really bad. But the changes and planning processes USPS has implemented sets them up well for this new challenge. If everyone in the country orders it all at once, there’s nothing USPS can do to fulfill all those orders. So, a lot is going to depend on demand. If USPS does it all right, the plan should work just fine, given that carriers already deliver packages like this day in and day out.”
Every COVID-19 Test Provided through the Program is Free
Anyone interested in ordering a COVID-19 test through this program won’t have to pay anything to do so. The Biden administration is covering all associated costs, and all tests provided through the program are 100% free.