Nearly half of Biden's 500 million free COVID-19 test kits remain unclaimed

The White House has been criticized for delivering a testing system too late to be helpful to the December-January Omicron surge.

Updated: February 28, 2022 - 9:46am

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As COVID-19 cases plummet and related restrictions and mandates are being lifted, nearly half of the 500 million virus tests that the Biden administration recently made available to the public remain unclaimed. 

When the initiative was launched in January – at the height of the virus' Omicron-variant surge – over 45 million orders was received on the first day.

Officials now report fewer than 100,000 daily requests, according to the Associated Press.

The administration reports that 68 million orders for packages of four tests have been placed, which means about 46% of the stock is still available.

The White House, however, sees the program as effective and one that will potentially be able to support future demanded surges. 

When the program started, officials say their priority was getting them areas in which populations are most vulnerable to infection.  Close to 25% of the tests have made their way to distressed areas, according to officials.

Moving forward, one question, given the surplus of test kits, is whether some households and families (specifically those targeted for delivery the first time around) will be allowed to place a second order on COVIDtests.gov

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