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The hidden lesson in the new free Covid-19 tests

Vox – It is possible to create programs that don’t burden the people who need them most: “[Last] week, the Biden administration rolled out a plan to send up to four free Covid-19 tests to every household in America. But you probably already knew that. At times, there were over 700,000 concurrent visitors to the page on the USPS site — more than every other .gov page combined. The enthusiastic response was remarkable because it was unusual. There are at least three different ways the Covid-19 test rollout succeeded where people expect government to fail:

  • It highlighted the failures of industrial and regulatory policy that have led to widespread shortages in at-home Covid-19 tests, and delays in results coming back from test sites.
  • It brought back memories of new government websites being unable to handle high traffic volume (e.g.
  • It was quick and simple: The only information people needed to provide was their street address.

The execution wasn’t perfect (a flaw affecting some apartment dwellers led the government to limit some buildings to a single four-test order) but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm. Which tells us something about how difficult Americans expect it to be to interact with the government, especially when trying to get the assistance the government has promised them…”

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