The COVID Test Website Is up but There Are Already Problems

AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey

We wanted to let you know that the federal government COVID test website is up and working today and you can order tests, although they are cautioning, it’s operating “in a limited capacity.”

They’ve finally gotten around to it after months of promising easy at-home test availability to Americans, lying, and failing to deliver on those promises.

As we previously reported, it’s officially supposed to open tomorrow. They opened today what White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki referred to as the “beta phase.” Now, opening early was perhaps the first intelligent move I’ve seen from the Biden Administration. So it was largely not stressed today and the site worked. So if you wanted to use it, today might be the day to use it because come tomorrow — the officially announced day — it’s going to get flooded.

I wonder if they learned anything from the Obamacare website roll-out debacle and whether their servers will be adequate? What’s helping them is that they’re not starting from scratch, as Psaki admits — they’re using the system of the U.S. Postal Service which already sells stuff so this is just like adding another item to their already existing set-up.

Now, if you place an order, you’re supposed to get four tests per residence. Even if you wanted fewer, there is no such option. If you place an order, you get an email telling you that the tests will ship at the end of January. You also can’t get any more. If you need more, too bad, that’s it.

So you’re not going to be ordering it to test yourself if you think you have it now, because it’s never going to get here in time if it’s not even going to ship until the end of January. You’ll be recovered by the time you get the test (if you get it).

This also may mean that most people may get it after the Omicron surge has peaked and has started to fall.

So, if you’re going to make any use of it at all, you’re going to have to order it in anticipation of when you think you might want or need it.

Some people found another problem — that they were blocked from getting it because of where they lived. If the system interpreted your address as a business address, you would be blocked from being able to order anything because they’re only going to ship it to residential addresses. So what does that mean? That means if you live in an apartment building that also houses businesses, you may be out of luck. That could be very problematic for people who live in cities where you have a greater likelihood of such apartment housing. Some people also noted it wasn’t allowing orders for multiple apartments in the same building. So if you weren’t the first person in your building to order, you might be out of luck. Kids in school dorms also reportedly had trouble ordering any — a dorm is interpreted as a business.

We’ll have to see what happens when the mass of all humanity hits the site tomorrow when it officially opens.