(WXYZ) — The demand for at-home COVID testing is soaring as the Omicron variant continues its spread across the United States.
White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci says this particular strain of the virus is less likely to cause severe illness, but it's infecting a large portion of the population which Fauci says could be a good thing as long as the virus doesn't mutate again.
"It's not going to be that you'll eliminate this disease completely. We're not gonna do that," Fauci said. "But hopefully, it will be at such a low level that it doesn't disrupt our normal social, economic, and other interactions with each other.
The current surge has been incredibly disruptive to everyday life. People are missing work because of close contacts and testing is either inconvenient or hard to come by. A new government-run website called covidtest.gov promises to change that.
When it launches Wednesday morning, every American will be eligible for up to four free testing kits. You can also buy your own kit and get reimbursed by your private insurance company up to $12 a test, for eight tests.
Top health officials say this massive effort is needed as we ride out the next few weeks.
"The challenge is the entire country is not moving at the same pace," surgeon general Dr. Vivek Murthy said. "The omicron wave started later in other parts of the country so we shouldn't expect a national peak in the next coming days. Next few weeks will be tough."
Some experts anticipate covidtest.gov will likely see major traffic and that could lead to hiccups. It's also important to note that tests will typically ship out 7-12 days after an order is placed which means you'll need to order your kit before experiencing symptoms.