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White House says it will set up a website to distribute 500 million free COVID tests

President Biden said today that People will quickly give you the option to order free COVID tests from a government-run website, which isn’t but obtainable. “We’ll have web sites the place you may get them delivered to your house,” he stated of the 500 million at-home tests the federal government is buying to fight the Omicron surge.

Particulars on this website are murky, nevertheless. White House press secretary Jen Psaki stated right this moment that “We will have extra info as it is accessible together with what the website seems like,” she stated, including, “We will make the website obtainable as quickly as these tests can be found.“

President Biden additionally stated that his administration is working with Google to make it simpler for People to discover COVID-19 testing areas. “We’ve organized for it to be simpler for you to discover a free COVID testing web site close to you on Google,” he stated, including that folks might simply enter the phrases “COVID check close to me,” into a Google search bar “and you will discover a variety of totally different areas close by the place you may get examined.”

Google spokesperson Lara Levin stated in an e-mail to The Verge that the preparations the president described had been a part of ongoing work the company has been doing since final 12 months “to make testing (after which vaccine) information obtainable in Search and Maps.” She added that the corporate continues to make updates as new knowledge turns into obtainable, and stated additional “We’re continuously making enhancements to the COVID info we offer on Search and Maps. We just lately made an replace that added information about hundreds extra free testing websites, and have been working with the administration and authorities companies on these efforts.” Levin didn’t supply any particular particulars on how Google and the Biden administration had labored collectively, nevertheless.

The varied guarantees about web sites and testing referred to as to thoughts remarks from former President Trump, who made grand claims in March 2020 in regards to the authorities was working with Google on a website to present coronavirus testing at retail pharmacies like Walgreens.

“Google goes to develop a website — it’s going to be in a short time performed, in contrast to web sites of the previous — to decide if a check is warranted and to facilitate testing at a close by handy location,” Trump stated at a press convention on March thirteenth, 2020, including that Google had “1,700 engineers” engaged on the challenge. That was information to Google; the corporate told The Verge shortly after Trump’s speech that it was not working with the federal government on a nationwide COVID testing website. Certainly, Google by no means delivered such a website; Trump had inflated work performed by Verily, a separate firm below Google dad or mum firm Alphabet. Verily finally launched a website launched as a restricted trial within the Bay Space; it was later phased out.

Biden, for his half, did his greatest to distance the present scenario from the calamitous early days of the pandemic and the disorganized Trump administration response.

“This isn’t March of 2020,” Biden stated throughout right this moment’s speech. “200 million persons are vaccinated. We’re ready. We all know extra.”

Hopefully this time the website truly arrives.

Replace December twenty first, 5:49PM ET: Added extra assertion from Google about latest updates.

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