Biden administration providing free COVID-19 tests, masks overwhelmingly popular: poll

The Biden administration’s efforts to provide free COVID-19 tests and masks to Americans across the country are overwhelmingly popular, according to a new poll.

The survey, conducted by Axios and Ipsos, found that 84 percent of adults in the U.S. strongly or somewhat support the federal government mailing free at-home COVID-19 tests to anyone who requests them.

Additionally, 84 percent of respondents said they strongly or somewhat support the federal government providing N95 masks to anyone who wants one through pharmacies and health clinics. 

The Biden administration announced last month that it was purchasing 500 million rapid COVID-19 tests to distribute to individuals across the country at no cost. The website to order tests went live last week, giving Americans the opportunity to order four at-home tests per household at a time when pharmacies were selling out of supplies. 

Some experts, however, said President Biden’s decision to make 500 million rapid tests free should have been made months earlier.

In another effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 amid the omicron variant surge, the White House announced last week that it was also making 400 million N95 masks available for free. Supplies will be available for pickup at “tens of thousands of local pharmacies” and at thousands of community health centers, according to the White House.

The announcement came days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its mask guidance to say that N95s are the most protective against COVID-19.

The sizable support for Biden’s two policies is a good sign for the White House, especially after the Axios-Ipsos poll found that trust in the president, federal government and news media to provide accurate information about COVID-19 has dipped slightly.

Only 45 percent of respondents said they trust Biden to provide accurate information on the pandemic, according to the poll, which is down from the 58 percent trust he received when he took office in January.

The poll surveyed 1,085 people from Jan. 21 to Jan. 24. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.