The tests are “free” in the sense that the government is spending $600 million to fund them. (But in an era of $5 trillion budgets, who can even bother counting any spending that’s not in the billions as significant?)
What that $600 million is actually buying are higher COVID-19 numbers. We already know how this works. The more you test, the more you get. And the more you get, the more you create a sense of crisis.
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), is announcing an investment of $600 million across 12 domestic COVID-19 test manufacturers and the reopening of COVIDTests.gov to deliver COVID-19 tests for free to households across the country.
The tests are free, the consequences may not be.
Creating 200 million tests and distributing many of them for free across the country, will ensure a much higher test rate, a much higher positive result rate and justifies potential further shutdowns. All of this is a potential ‘test’ for the election when the tests will really be crucial for declaring a public health emergency and changing election rules once again.