Postal service

The postal service passes – Hasso Hering

These are the test kits that the postal service delivered to my house.

Say what you want about the government’s response to the Covid pandemic, but thank the post for doing its part.

The US Postal Service has been instructed to send free self-test kits to millions of Americans. And as far as I know, it happened.

In Washington, the White House announced the campaign on Tuesday, January 18. Because do-it-yourself test kits were hard to come by in some parts of the country, the government would send four of the kits to every household in America who requested them.

The post office, they said, would open a website to take applications starting the next day, Wednesday. But in fact, the service had already done that, because when I heard about this from one of my sons on Tuesday morning the 18th, I went online and placed an order for our house.

This Tuesday morning, yesterday, the post office sent me an email. “Hello Covid Test Recipient,” it began, “your item is being delivered February 8th at 6:10 a.m. to Albany, OR 97321.”

The message added that the USPS planned to deliver the package by 9 p.m. Our courier did much better than that. The kits were in our mailbox by early afternoon.

The White House had said the government was preparing to ship 500 million test kits and orders on the website would be fulfilled for up to 12 days. In such a large operation, one would expect glitches and schedule delays.

But it couldn’t have taken more than a few days to process my order. Then they sent it to where the kits were purchased or stored, then they mailed it in, from Topeka, Kansas. And not only did they get it here in just under three weeks total, but they also kept track of it and let me know in the morning when it would arrive.

From a logistical point of view, it’s much better than I expected.

Now, about the test kits themselves: the packaging says you can use a single test to confirm Covid if you have symptoms. But if you don’t have symptoms, you should use at least two tests.

No symptoms yet – knock on wood – so I think we’ll wait. (hh)