The government will end its delivery of home tests for Covid-19 on Friday due to insufficient funding from Congress, a senior Biden administration official said on Sunday.
A stockpile of tests is being depleted, and officials want to have enough on hand in case of a fallout, the source said.
The sweepstakes, which includes tests mailed at no cost to recipients who request them at Covidtests.gov, will end Friday, according to an announcement on the site, unless there is a surprise round of funding from Congress, the source said.
“If Congress provides funding, we will quickly resume distribution of free tests through covidtests.gov,” the source said. “Until then, we believe that reserving the remaining tests for distribution later this year is the best course.”
CNN first reported that the Biden administration was blaming Congress for the program’s end.
The administration official who spoke to NBC News chastised Congress.
“The administration has been clear about our urgent needs for funding to respond to Covid-19,” the source said. “We have warned that inaction by Congress would force unacceptable trade-offs and harm our overall preparedness and response to Covid-19, and that the consequences will likely worsen over time.”
Fewer people are being tested for the coronavirus, and many are believed to have had it without conclusively knowing it. 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 distribution halted on Friday, the vast majority of people in the United States would still have the option of free testing or reimbursement through private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.
The federal government has distributed approximately 600 million tests through its Covid-19 testing website.