Biden pledges 500M free COVID-19 tests to counter omicron

With the omicron variant on the rise, President Joe Biden has plans to announce 500 million free rapid tests for Americans, increased support for hospitals under strain and a redoubling of vaccination and boosting efforts. Omicron has become the dominant strain in the US, accounting for nearly three-quarters of all new cases. Omicron has created concern in a number of US cities, with people in New York, Washington and elsewhere queuing up for tests ahead of meeting up with family members. A cornerstone of the plan is Biden’s decision for the government to purchase 500 million coronavirus rapid tests and ship them free to Americans starting in January. People will use a new website to order their tests, which will then be sent to them by U.S. mail at no charge. For the first time, the U.S. government will send free COVID-19 tests directly to Americans, after more than a year of urging by public health experts.