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500 Million Tests

Steven Levy has written a fascinating article on Wired at the development and roll-out of the Biden Administration's COVIDTests website.

This website was developed to fulfil a commitment of giving each American family 4 rapid COVID tests for free. This included postage and shipping, with a total commitment of up to 500,000,000 tests.

As Levy writes:

The whole project, from conception to a soft rollout on January 18 (a day earlier than announced), was completed in three weeks. The website itself was built by a relatively tiny team: three from USDS and around 15 in the Postal Service, a dramatic contrast to the human waves the government used to marshal on such projects. And it worked—a conclusion verified by the lack of outrage at its performance. Outside analytics indicate that more than 68 million people visited the site during its first week. Even more striking, at one point on the 18th, the site was handling 700,000 visitors at the same instant. By a large margin, this exceeded all traffic on other government sites combined. Best of all: The government now says that approximately 60 million people ordered tests.

There is some useful content on the lessons learned from the botched Obamacare roll out.

As governments adapt to e-services all over the world, it is worth remembering that some of these projects can be really complex, and public procurement policies often do not support getting the best technical assistance available.

Well worth the read.

The Plain View. 28.01.2022

Accessed on 29 January 2022.


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