White House finalizing USPS deal to deliver 500M COVID-19 tests: report

A U.S. Postal Service truck is seen in a parking lot at the Newgate Shopping Center in Centerville, Va., on Thursday, October 14, 2021.
Greg Nash

Plans to deliver 500 million COVID-19 test kits to homes are being finalized between the White House and U.S. Postal Service, and officials hope by mid-January to start shipping those tests out, The Washington Post reported, citing four people familiar.

A website that will allow people to submit COVID-19 rapid test requests will also be established by the administration, those people told the newspaper.

Separately, negotiations regarding extending the seasonal employees who were hired during the holidays by the Postal Service are happening between its four labor unions and the agency.

One person familiar told the Post that the first contract was awarded on Thursday after proposals had been offered to the government amongst distributors and test manufacturers who intend on providing COVID-19 tests to the initiative.

A request for comment from the Postal Service was not immediately returned to the Post. A representative for the White House declined to comment to the newspaper about the matter. 

The development comes several weeks after President Biden announced that 500 million COVID-19 tests had been purchased by the administration to be given to all Americans who wanted one as the U.S. deals with a surge in cases due to the highly transmissible omicron variant.

COVID-19 tests can help Americans make informed decisions on how to safely gather with family and friends during the pandemic. Initial data and research suggest that the omicron variant may not be as severe as health officials initially worried, though it is considered highly transmissible.

Efforts to find rapid COVID-19 tests have been challenging for many Americans, as many retailers have completely sold out of their shipments of the critical coronavirus supplies. President Biden said in an interview with ABC’s David Muir last month that he did not think “it’s a failure” that there was a current shortage of tests.

“You could argue that we should have known a year ago, six months ago, two months ago, a month ago.”

However, he did say that he wished he had thought about ordering those tests earlier.

“I wish I had thought about ordering half a billion [tests] two months ago,” Biden said.

The Hill has reached out to the White House and Postal Service for comment.

Tags COVID-19 tests Joe Biden Postal Service rapid tests USPS White House

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