Health insurers will now cover the costs of home COVID tests
From Saturday, private health insurers will be required to cover up to eight at-home COVID-19 tests per month for people on their plans. Under the new policy, Americans will either be able to buy free home testing kits as part of their insurance or submit receipts for the tests for reimbursement. PCR tests and rapid tests ordered or administered by a health care provider will continue to be fully covered by No Limit Insurance. In another step to help Americans access testing, the federal government will launch a website on Wednesday to begin making 500 million home COVID-19 tests available by mail. The administration is also expanding emergency rapid testing sites in areas seeing the highest increases in cases.
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Winter storm Izzy will hit the south this weekend
After patching the Upper Midwest with up to a foot of snow in some areas, Winter Storm Izzy is expected to plunge south Saturday and Sunday. The storm is expected to bring snow to cities such as Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Ice will be of particular concern with the storm in parts of the Carolinas. Meanwhile, Atlanta could see its first measurable snowfall in four years. The wintry weather is expected to cause major travel disruptions throughout the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, AccuWeather said.
Djokovic returns to detention as he continues to fight deportation
Novak Djokovic was reportedly back in immigration detention on Saturday after his legal challenge to avoid being deported from Australia for not being vaccinated against COVID-19 was transferred to three judges in a higher court. A Federal Court hearing is scheduled for Sunday, a day before the No.1-ranked men’s tennis player and nine-time Australian Open champion was due to begin his title defense at the inaugural Grand Slam tennis tournament. the year. Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on Friday blocked the 34-year-old’s visa, which was initially revoked upon his arrival in Melbourne on January 5. But it was reinstated by a judge on Monday on procedural grounds because Djokovic was not allowed to have a lawyer. with him at the airport. Djokovic’s attorneys filed documents in court on Saturday revealing that Hawke had said “Djokovic is seen by some as the talisman of a community of anti-vaccination sentiments.” The minister said Djokovic’s presence could pose a risk to the health and “good order” of the Australian public.
The CDC’s COVID advice for making cruises optional
The CDC’s framework for the conditional sailing order will expire on Saturday, when the health agency’s COVID guidelines for cruise ships will become voluntary. The program includes guidance and recommendations for cruise ships to continue to operate in a way that promotes a safer and healthier environment for passengers, crew and affected communities, according to the CDC. But “voluntary” doesn’t mean cruise ships won’t be regulated by the CDC — whether or not they opt into the program, Capt. Aimee Treffiletti, who leads the CDC’s marine unit, told USA TODAY. “It’s very important to keep in mind that the vessels will always be under the regulatory authority of the CDC,” Treffiletti said. Cruise ships, regardless of whether they participate in the voluntary program, will still be required to report every case of COVID on board, simply through a “different mechanism” than they currently do. The CDC also reserves the right to issue a “no sail” order for a vessel if the agency has concerns about what is happening on board.
NFL playoffs kick off with ‘Super Wild Card Weekend’
The NFL playoffs begin Saturday with two wildcard games, with 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 lost their last eight postseason games and haven’t won a playoff game since 1991. In Buffalo, temperatures are expected to be historic low for the AFC East rivals’ third meeting of the season. There are three more games on Sunday’s schedule: Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Philadelphia Eagles (1 p.m. ET, Fox), the San Francisco 49ers hit the road to face a former NFC rival at the Cowboys Dallas (4:30 p.m., CBS) and the Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Kansas City Chiefs (8:15 p.m., NBC).
Contribution: The Associated Press