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The federal government has launched a new website, COVID.gov, that serves as a one-stop shop for coronavirus essentials where you can find everything from where to get a vaccine, to testing and treatment options, to an update on the status of the virus in your community.
The website is available in English, Spanish and Simplified Chinese. In addition, all the tools on the site will be available via a national hotline — 800-232-0233 — which will provide help in more than 150 languages. The TTY number is 888-720-7489.
A White House fact sheet announcing the new site says that “America is in a new moment in the pandemic.” Reported cases of COVID-19 are inching toward pandemic lows, and many people are “getting back to their more normal routines,” the announcement says. However, in order to stay ahead of the virus, the administration is repeating its request to Congress for an additional $22.5 billion for treatments, supplies and other measures needed to continue to combat the virus.
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“Like all Americans, AARP’s members urgently want to see an end to the pandemic. But we cannot simply pretend the fight is over,” Nancy LeaMond, AARP’s executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer, says in a letter to lawmakers, urging Congress to act to prevent any lapses in federal funding for the COVID-19 response. “Without action by Congress, our country will not have the tools necessary to continue fighting this disease. In short, if Congress fails to fund the COVID response, it will be older Americans who will pay the price.”
Of the more than 1 million U.S. deaths from COVID-19, 93 percent have been among people age 50 and older, the letter points out.
What you can find on COVID.gov
The features of the new website include:
- A tool that allows people to find the COVID-19 status in their county, based on hospitalizations and cases of the disease in their area. It also provides an explanation of what the different community levels (low, medium and high) mean.
- A Test-to-Treat locator that helps people find pharmacies and community health centers where they can get tested for COVID-19 and receive immediate treatment if they test positive. So far, the administration has established more than 2,000 Test-to-Treat sites as well as more than 240 locations in Veterans Health Administration and Department of Defense facilities for veterans, military personnel and their families.
- A link to covidtests.gov, where individuals can order free at-home tests.
- A link to vaccines.gov, where people can find places to get a vaccine and make an appointment for a shot.
- A link to the CDC web page on masks and up-to-date travel guidance.
Dena Bunis covers Medicare, health care, health policy and Congress. She also writes the Medicare Made Easy column for the 'AARP Bulletin'. An award-winning journalist, Bunis spent decades working for metropolitan daily newspapers, including as Washington bureau chief for 'The Orange County Register' and as a health policy and workplace writer for Newsday.