More than 50 million American households have received free at-home COVID-19 testing kits that started going out in late January, according to a White House official.
“85 percent of the initial orders are now out the door. And in the next several days, we will complete the shipping of all of the initial orders,” White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said at a news briefing Wednesday.
the Biden administration ordered 1 billion tests to be sent through the US Postal Service to Americans who sign up through COVIDTests.gov. Each household was eligible for four at-home tests, regardless of the number of household members.
The US Postal Service said tests will ship within seven to 12 days of ordering, and all orders are mailed through First-Class Package Service, but many Americans who ordered tests as soon as they were available to be ordered on Jan. 18 have still not received an email with tracking information once their order has shipped.
“Once the package ships, over 60 percent are delivered within 24 hours and 90 percent within 48 hours,” Zients said.
During the surge of cases amid the omicron variant of the coronavirus, at-home tests were scarce in stores and online vendors.
Also in the news:
►Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a White House briefing that the government is contemplating a change to its mask guidance in the coming weeks.
📈Today’s numbers: The US has recorded more than 78 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 928,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 417 million cases and over 5.8 million deaths. More than 214 million Americans – 64.5% – are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘 What we’re reading: Every week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updates its list of countries that should be avoided due to COVID-19 risk. After nearly two years of living in the pandemic, travelers are ignoring the agency’s guidance.
During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, organ transplants plummeted by half. But the death didn’t last for long.
Last year, at record-breaking 41,354 transplants were performed, according to preliminary data from the United Network for Organ Sharing, the first time the US has ever exceeded 40,000 transplants. Dr. Matthew Cooper, president of the UNOS Board of Directors, said the organization continues to see transplantation “increase substantially.”
“There was a period from early March to the end of April (in 2020) where it was just crisis mode and nobody was doing anything,” said Jill Grandas, executive director of DCI Donor Services, which make up three organ procurement organizations in Tennessee , New Mexico, and California. “Things were pretty abysmal at that point. But in May, our donor programs quickly rebounded and transplantation began again.”
Despite obstacles created by the pandemic, a harmonious combination of technological advancements, cooperation between medical facilities and solidarity among Americans drove lifesaving transplants in 2021, experts say.
A summary of data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network show donors with resolved COVID-19 and a positive test 21 to 90 days after the disease onset are unlikely to transmit the infection. So far, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported only three cases of donor-derived COVID-19 to lung recipients.
There have been no cases of COVID-19 transmission to nonlung recipients.
— Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY
Contributing: The Associated Press
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism