Biden administration stops sending free Covid home tests on Friday

The government will stop giving away Covid-19 home tests on Friday due to insufficient funding from Congress, a senior official in the Biden administration said Sunday.

A stock of the tests is running out and officials want to have enough on hand in the event of a fall wave, the source said.

The giveaway, which includes tests emailed for free to recipients who requested them on, will end Friday, according to an announcement on the site — unless there’s a surprise round of funding from Congress, the source said.

“If Congress provides funding, we will resume distribution of free tests through soon,” the source said. “Until then, we think the best course of action is to reserve the remaining tests for distribution later this year.”

The government official who spoke to NBC News denounced Congress.

“The administration has been clear about our urgent funding needs for the Covid-19 response,” the source said. “We have warned that Congressional inaction would force unacceptable compromises and harm our overall preparation and response to Covid-19 – and that the consequences would likely worsen over time.”

Fewer people are testing for the coronavirus and many would have had it without conclusively knowing. In fact, experts believe that many Americans have been reinfected at this point in the pandemic.

dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser, has said he believes Covid-19 will be a seasonal event, like the flu.

With the discontinuation of distribution on Friday, the vast majority of people in the US would still have the option to test for free or receive reimbursement through private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.

The federal government has distributed an estimated 600 million tests through its Covid-19 testing website. It started shipping the free tests in January, when the ommicron variant peaked.

It was not immediately clear how many are currently in stock.

In March, the White House asked Congress for an additional $22.5 billion in funding for Covid relief efforts, warning it would be unable to maintain testing capacity without the testing capability.

But a deadlock meant that the funding, which the Biden administration also wanted to use for research and treatments, was not awarded.

Elizabeth Chuck contributed.

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