Serious shortage of COVID-19 home tests in the US


Over the last few weeks, the rapid spread of the omicron variant in the United States has become a real headache for the Government that, in the face of possible economic shutdowns, advocates vaccination and detection; a strategy that, without a doubt, faces its challenges.

Although for months the reluctance of millions of Americans to get vaccinated has been the main challenge for health authorities, now it is the lack of diagnostic tests that puts the fight against the pandemic in check.

There are currently two types of tests in the United States to detect COVID-19: antigen and molecular or PCR.

PCRs are administered by trained and licensed personnel, while antigens can be purchased at the pharmacy without a prescription to use at home and are highly popular because they give results in minutes.

“The home tests are pretty good, pretty reliable. Now, the ability of the home test to do a better job increases if you do it more than once, which is why most home tests come in packs of two, “explained Dr. Marc Kahn, dean of Medicine at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.

This ease of obtaining quick results has made these home tests scarce throughout the country, so that more and more people then go to the health authorities to undergo the tests.

The domino effect has not been long in coming, as with staff reduced precisely because of the wave of infections, public test sites are not keeping up.

“We did between 5,000 to 7,000, 8,000 daily covid tests. Today we are doing around 15,000, 16,000, that is, twice, ”said Fermín Leguen, medical director of the Southern Nevada Health District.

The Biden Administration has already announced that massive additional testing centers run by the federal government will open in the states of Nevada, Maine, Delaware, Texas, Washington, and Maryland to help counter the crisis generated by the infectious wave of the omicron variant.

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