Google offers free weekly COVID-19 tests for its US employees, which has started on Friday (12/18). The tech giant company is known to give great benefits to its employees, which is now home to over 100,000 employees in Northern America.
As The Wall Street Journals initially reported, the nasal swab tests are available through BioIQ, a health care company in Atlanta that Google has partnered up with. Up to this writing, the plan is only open for 90,000 employees, but the tech giant is planning to expand it globally next year.
According to the reports, Google pays at least $50 per-test, multiplying to a whopping $4.5 million per 90,000 employees. Should all the projected employees take advantage of Google's offering, the number could be this high or even lower. To be able to launch a test, employees may access BioIQ's website to order their in-home test packs, and they can send them back to the labs to be tested.
In a statement to another publication, The Verge, Google says that the test will also be available for intern employees, hoping that it would stop asymptomatic patients from spreading the virus without knowing.
Work From Home Policy
Google is among the first Big Techs to send their employees to work from home, followed by Facebook and others.
Under CEO Sundar Pichai, Google employees are set to work from home at least until September 2021, when the long-awaited vaccines are expected to be on the market. Although the company previously targeted June, Google decided to push the back-to-office date back.
"I hope this will offer the flexibility you need to balance work with taking care of yourselves and your loved ones over the next 12 months," the CEO previously said.
Besides, Google is not the only giant tech company to run nasal swab tests free for their employees. The Wall Street Journals article also notes Tyson Foods and Delta Air Lines among the companies who started testing on-site staff.
Is Vaccine On the Way?
Love it or hate it, the pandemic has changed the way we see our study and 9-to-5 jobs. As people are stuck at home, teleconferencing and work tool apps, like Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom, are more popular than ever.
Earlier this month, the US Foods and Drugs Administration (FDA) approved an emergency authorization for the coronavirus vaccine's first batch from Pfizer and Moderna. Pfizer expects 1.3 billion doses worldwide by 2021 and 500 million to 1 billion other quantities from Moderna. Both companies claimed to have 94 to 95 percent effectiveness.
Most countries, including the US, announced that the vaccines would be free for their citizens. Healthcare workers and older people above 80 and 70 years old are among the priorities. Although you may receive both doses of vaccines, maintaining physical distancing and wearing a mask are still mandatory.