The Biden administration, looking ahead to a possible winter surge of Covid-19, announced on Wednesday that it was reviving its program of offering Americans free coronavirus tests through the mail and would spend more than $600 million to buy tests from a dozen domestic manufacturers.
The website for the program, covidtests.gov, will begin accepting orders on Monday, and households will be able to receive four tests. Dawn O’Connell, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Health and Human Services Department, said the money would fund the purchase of 200 million tests to replenish the nation’s stockpile as tests are sent out.
But a byproduct of the program, Ms. O’Connell said, is that it will shore up domestic manufacturing capacity in the event of another serious coronavirus surge.
Coronavirus hospitalizations have been on the rise in the United States, though they remain low compared with earlier stretches of the pandemic, and free tests are now harder to come by for many Americans. While private insurers had previously been required to cover up to eight at-home tests per month, that requirement ended when the Biden administration allowed the public health emergency for the coronavirus to expire in May.