• Tue. Sep 26th, 2023


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Trying to Find Covid Antiviral Pills? New U.S. Website Aims to Help

As the coronavirus pandemic moves into what the White House hopes is a “new normal,” the Biden administration has introduced covid.gov, a federal website meant to help Americans who are infected with the virus find the treatment they need quickly and at no cost.

“This website is part of our effort — our continued and ongoing effort — to make sure that people have what they need to deal with Covid as we move into potentially the next phase of this disease,” the White House said on Wednesday.

This new phase, aimed at helping the United States transition to “living with the virus,” has four main goals: protecting against and treating Covid-19, preparing for new variants, avoiding shutdowns and fighting the virus abroad.

During his State of the Union address, President Biden promised to establish a “test-to-treat” program “so people can get tested at a pharmacy, and if they’re positive, receive antiviral pills on the spot at no cost.”

That initiative began on March 8, but few Americans knew where to find one of the 2,000 participating sites, David Leonhardt writes in The New York Times’s The Morning newsletter.

Treatments like Evusheld (a drug that appears to bolster immunity among the immunocompromised) and antiviral pills like Paxlovid from Pfizer (which is highly effective at preventing hospitalization and death among people who are at high risk of severe disease from coronavirus infection) “are widely available, yet many people remain unaware of them,” he writes. Covid.gov seeks to make the treatments more accessible.

On the website, people can also find the locations of vaccination and testing sites and places to acquire high-quality masks; fill out a form to order eight free at-home coronavirus tests per household; view their community’s risk level according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and get general information on Covid symptoms, treatment, testing and travel.

Much of this information, such as C.D.C. community risk levels and test order forms, was already available elsewhere, but this website is intended to make it more convenient to get coronavirus-related information and supplies all in one place, the White House said in a statement.

“We could not have done this six or eight months ago, because we didn’t have all the tools we have now,” Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said in an interview with NPR.

The website is available in English, Spanish and Chinese. The administration is also making all of these tools available over the phone through the national vaccine hotline at 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489), which supports over 150 languages.

The White House also said that people can still be tested and treated by their own health care providers, who can prescribe Covid antivirals at locations where they are being distributed.

In the past two weeks, the United States has seen a 12 percent decrease in average daily cases, according to a New York Times database. In the same time period, hospitalizations have decreased by 33 percent and deaths have decreased by 44 percent.