: Why at-home COVID-19 tests may limit the way the U.S. tracks new cases

by | May 14, 2022 | Stock Market

The majority of people in the U.S. who are testing positive for the coronavirus right now likely aren’t being included in official case counts, and that means our understanding of current — or future — waves of the virus is weaker than it’s been in the past. For the week ending May 7, there were an estimated two positive COVID-19 laboratory tests for every five positive at-home tests, which largely go unreported.

The crowdsourced data comes from Outbreaks Near Me, a site that gathers voluntary information from individuals to identify COVID-19 hot spots through a partnership with Momentive
MNTV,
+7.20%,
the company that owns SurveyMonkey. “A couple of weeks ago, we had a shift, where more people are now testing positive with the at-home tests than all other testing combined,” said Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist and chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital. (Outbreaks Near Me is a project that came out of his laboratory at the hospital.) The widespread availability of at-home tests has been a good thing for Americans. Ever since the start of this year, when the Biden administration made at-home COVID-19 tests available free to American households, they’ve become part of our everyday lives. Boxes of BinaxNow and FlowFlex are stacked near pharmacy checkout lines. A certain number of tests can be reimbursed by insurance. And fewer people are waiting in long lin …

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