This week, the National Institutes of Health launched a new website that allows people to anonymously report their at-home test results. While I’m skeptical about how much useful data will actually result from the site, it could be a helpful tool to gauge how willing Americans are to self-report test results.
On September 2, 2022, the federal government stopped taking orders for free at-home COVID-19 tests. The day this program ended, I sent a public records request to the federal government asking for data on how many tests were distributed. I just received some data back from my request; here’s what the numbers show.
Remember how, in December, the CDC changed its recommendations for people who’d tested positive for COVID-19 to isolating for only five days instead of ten? And a bunch of experts were like, “Wait a second, I’m not sure if that’s sound science?” Well, studies since this guidance was changed have shown that, actually, a lot of people with COVID-19 are still contagious after five days. Yet the CDC has not revised its guidance at all.
My latest story with the Documenting COVID-19 project is an investigation into Utah’s school COVID-19 testing program, in collaboration with the Salt Lake Tribune. We investigated with a once-innovative program failed in fall 2021.
This week, the U.S. government unveiled a new website where Americans can get free at-home COVID-19 tests. Within hours of this site going live, public health experts were already raising equity concerns about the free test distribution program. To address these concerns, the federal government should release data on where the free tests go—including breakdowns by state, county, ZIP code, race and ethnicity, the tests’ delivery dates, and more.
As Omicron spreads rapidly through the U.S., this variant is driving record case numbers—and record demand for testing, including both PCR and rapid at-home tests. In other words, it feels harder than ever to get tested for COVID-19, largely because more people currently need a test due to recent exposure to the virus than at any other time during the pandemic.
This week, I had a story on COVID-19 testing published in Slate’s Future Tense vertical. The piece explores how testing will change in the next few months as more Americans become vaccinated and rapid tests become more widely available. In the CDD today, I’m excited to share one of the interviews I conducted for the piece, with Dan Larremore, a statistician at the University of Colorado and long-time advocate for the potential of rapid tests.