The Biden administration is expected to announce on Tuesday that 500 million at-home rapid COVID tests will be distributed to people who request them for free.

The tests will be made available for free through the mail beginning in January 2022. The move comes as the administration expects an Omicron variant wave to rise throughout the U.S.

The free at-home tests are part of an initiative to get free rapid tests to as many people as possible. President Joe Biden will announce new federal testing sites besides the 20,000 already available across the U.S.

The White House announced the administration will provide a website where Americans can go to get at-home tests delivered to their homes.

Biden also announced that he will deploy military personnel to assist where needed, including to overburdened hospitals.

The arrival of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in New York had people lining up for testing on December 17, 2021
Representation. A COVID-19 testing line. Experts hope the U.S. will follow suit in South Africa's downtrend in daily cases after it passed the peak of its omicron wave. AFP / Ed JONES

The announcement comes after a White House staffer tested positive for COVID-19 after being in close contact with Biden.

Biden later tested negative, but the staffer was fully vaccinated and received a booster shot. Ninety-nine percent of White House staffers are vaccinated under the federal worker mandate enacted by the Biden administration.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told the media that Biden will resume his regular schedule per CDC guidelines, which does not require fully vaccinated people to quarantine or isolate after COVID-19 exposure. However, the Omicron variant has shown a resilience to vaccination.

The Omicron variant is the dominant variant spreading across the U.S. and accounts for the highest percentage of new infections. The U.S. passed the milestones of over 800,000 deaths and 50 million cases in recent days.