Health insurers will now cover costs of home COVID tests Starting Saturday, private health insurers will be required to cover up to eight home COVID-19 tests per month for people on their plans. Under the new policy, Americans will be able to either purchase home testing kits for free under their insurance, or submit receipts for the tests for reimbursement. PCR tests and rapid tests ordered or administered by a health provider will continue to be fully covered by insurance with no limit. In another step to help Americans get access to tests, on Wednesday, the federal government will launch a website to begin making 500 million at-home COVID-19 tests available via mail. The administration also is scaling up emergency rapid-testing sites in areas experiencing the greatest surges in cases.
Taking advantage of the new policy: How to get free tests or reimbursementHow easy will health insurers make it to get free, at-home COVID-19 tests?Did you pay attention this week? Take our news quiz.
Biden announces free masks, tests to fight omicron
President Joe Biden announced Thursday the government will distribute 1 billion rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests free to Americans, along with the most protective N95 masks, as the White House looks to fight the spike in coronavirus cases. (Jan. 13)
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Winter Storm Izzy to hit the South this weekend After pasting the Upper Midwest with up to a foot of snow in some areas, Winter Storm Izzy is forecasted to dive into the South on Saturday and into Sunday. The storm is expected to bring snow into cities such as Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Ice will be a particular concern with the storm in portions of the Carolinas. Meanwhile, Atlanta could see its first measurable snow in four years. The winter weather is expected to bring major travel disruptions throughout the Martin Luther King Jr., holiday weekend, AccuWeather said.
‘A good day to stay home’: Heavy snow from previous storm slammed Northeast, brought more travel woes to regionNeed to shovel the driveway this weekend? Tips on how to deal with the snow From Reviewed: 5 essential ways to prepare for a snowstorm
Another winter storm to hit the Northeast with heavy snow
The next winter storm is prepared to bring heavy snow across the Northeast.
Djokovic moves back to detention as he continues to fight deportationNovak Djokovic was reported to be back in immigration detention Saturday after his legal challenge to avoid being deported from Australia for being unvaccinated for COVID-19 was moved to three judges of a higher court. A Federal Court hearing has been scheduled for Sunday, a day before the men’s No. 1-ranked tennis player and nine-time Australian Open champion was due to begin his title defense at the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year. Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on Friday blocked the 34-year-old’s visa, which was originally revoked when he arrived in Melbourne on Jan. 5. But it was restored Monday by a judge on procedural grounds, because Djokovic was not allowed to have a lawyer with him at the airport. Djokovic’s lawyers filed documents in court on Saturday that revealed Hawke had stated that “Djokovic is perceived by some as a talisman of a community of anti-vaccination sentiment.” The minister said that Djokovic’s presence may be a risk to the health and “good order” of the Australian public.
Dan Wolken column: On the verge of deportation from Australia, there are no winners in Novak Djokovic sagaNo. 1 player, if he stays: Djokovic gets top seed in Australian Open draw despite uncertainty over status
Novak Djokovic’s visa revoked by Australian government over COVID issue
Tennis player Novak Djokovic has had his visa revoked by Australia for a second time. The decision means that Djokovic could be deported.
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CDC COVID guidance for cruises to become optionalThe CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order will expire Saturday at which point the health agency’s COVID guidance for cruise ships will become voluntary. The program includes guidance and recommendations for cruise ships to keep operating in a way that fosters a safer and healthier environment for passengers, crew and impacted communities, according to the CDC. But “voluntary” doesn’t mean cruise ships won’t be regulated by the CDC – regardless of whether or not they opt into the program, Captain Aimee Treffiletti, who leads the CDC’s maritime unit, told USA TODAY. “It’s very important to keep in mind that ships will still be under CDC’s regulatory authority,” Treffiletti said. Cruise ships, regardless of participation in the voluntary program, will still be required to report every COVID case on board, just through a “different mechanism” than the way they currently do. The CDC also reserves the right to issue a “no sail” order for a ship if the agency has concerns about what is happening on board.
‘Turning into a nightmare’: Norwegian cancels sailing mid-cruise, passengers to be stuck on board for days’We found out while we were flying’: Last-minute cruise cancellations leave travelers scrambling
Cruise guidelines become voluntary starting Saturday
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 guidance will become optional for many cruise ships starting Saturday.
Fox – 35 Orlando, Fox – 35 Orlando
NFL playoffs kick off with “Super Wild Card Weekend”The NFL playoffs begin Saturday with two wild-card games, the Cincinnati Bengals hosting the Las Vegas Raiders (4:30 p.m. ET, NBC) and the New England Patriots visiting the Buffalo Bills (8:15 p.m. ET, CBS). The Bengals have lose their previous eight postseason contests, and have not won a playoff game since 1991. In Buffalo, temperatures are expected to be historically low for the third meeting of the season between the AFC East rivals. There are three more games on the schedule Sunday: Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Philadelphia Eagles (1 p.m. ET, Fox), the San Francisco 49ers head on the road to take on an old NFC rival in the Dallas Cowboys (4:30 p.m., CBS) and the Pittsburgh Steelers will play at the Kansas City Chiefs (8:15 p.m., NBC).
Super Bowl predictions: Expert NFL postseason picks’Everybody used to laugh at us’: How the Cincinnati Bengals shed loser label, built hungry playoff teamWhich NFL underdog teams could go on a surprising playoff run? USA TODAY Sports staffers weigh in
‘Everything is on the line’: Jerry Rice previews 49ers-Cowboys wild-card matchup
49ers legend joins Sports Seriously to preview the 49ers-Cowboys game and if Jimmy Garoppolo can change the narrative about his career this postseason.
Sports Seriously, USA TODAY
Contributing: The Associated Press
Source : USA Today