RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The federal government is now offering households up to four free at-home COVID-19 tests. One billion tests will be available to Americans but it may not be enough to address the surge in testing and cases.

The rapid tests can provide results within 30 minutes. They ship between 7 to 12 days of ordering through the Unites States Postal Service. No insurance cards, credit cards or I.D.s are needed to order the tests.

People will not be allowed to choose the brand of tests but the tests sent will be FDA authorized.

“It sounds like a lot of testing but it’s not a lot of testing, if you look at it over a period of a couple of months,” said Dr. Thomas Denny, chief operating officer at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute. Denny said three things are needed the meet long-term demands: more at-home tests, tests in every doctor’s office and more PCR testing sites.

“Having access to all these different testing platforms, in really adequate supplies and availability is what the country needs,” he said.

The at-home tests may provide an answer right away but they are rapid tests done at home. Many work places or schools require either a PCR test, a rapid test conducted by a professional or that a test be sent out to a lab.

While Denny said it would be nice for organizations to ease up on their PCR versus rapid testing requirement, more side-by-side comparison studies are needed to get a clear picture of the difference.

“I think the challenge is for those of us in the scientific community to really define how an antigen test, or an at-home test, compares to a PCR test in different settings,” Denny said.

Going forward he said we need to keep the pressure on to make more testing available.

“The key to testing is to understand who’s infected… and hopefully prevent future infections,” Denny said.