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White House offering additional 8 free COVID-19 tests to public

Out of the 1 billion tests made available, only 350 million have been shipped out so far, according to the Biden administration.

WASHINGTON — The government website for people to request free COVID-19 at-home tests from the U.S. government is now accepting a third round of orders.

The White House announced Tuesday that U.S. households can request an additional eight free at-home tests to be shipped by the U.S. Postal Service.

The announcement comes as coronavirus cases are rising again in some areas of the country.

President Joe Biden committed in January to making 1 billion tests available to the public free of charge, including 500 million available through covidtests.gov. But just 350 million of the amount available for ordering online have been shipped to date to addresses across the continental U.S., its territories and overseas military bases, the White House said.

People who have difficulty getting online or need help placing an order can call 1-800-232-0233 for assistance.

The third round brings to 16 the total number of free tests available to each U.S. household since the program started earlier this year. Households were eligible to receive four tests during each of two earlier rounds of ordering through the website.

Biden has requested an additional $22 billion from Congress to buy vaccines and therapeutics to prepare for a fall spike in COVID-19 cases, but lawmakers have balked at the price tag.

Wild demand swings have been a subplot in the pandemic, from vaccines to hand sanitizer, along with tests. On the first day of the White House test giveaway in January, COVIDtests.gov received over 45 million orders. But by March, officials said fewer than 100,000 orders a day were coming in for the packages of four free rapid tests per household, delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.

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