A note from Million Marker: As we progress through these uncertain times, we are committed to the health of you and your family.
While we will continue to provide information that will help protect you from toxic exposures, we know that the threat of COVID-19 is foremost on people’s minds. Therefore, we will also provide any relevant information about the coronavirus. While Million Marker will NOT have the capability to provide home testing for the virus, we are gathering information about progress on this topic. As always, if you have any questions about the health of yourself and your family, feel free contact us so we can direct you to the best resources.
At-home COVID-19 tests are urgently needed
The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is highly contagious. Each infected person poses a risk to everyone they cross paths with. This is especially dangerous for medical personnel; their ability to stay healthy and go to work is essential during this time.
If a person who suspects they have COVID-19 goes to a clinic to get tested, they could be exposing many healthy people to the virus.
An at-home, mail-in test eliminates all unnecessary exposures. If the person does have COVID-19, they can remain in quarantine during their contagious phase. If the person is not a carrier, they can prevent possible exposures they might get at a testing clinic.
Further, many carriers of COVID-19 do not show any symptoms or have extremely mild symptoms. Thus, wide-spread, home testing of “healthy” people could greatly reduce unknowingly spreading the disease.
How does testing work now?
Currently, you must go to a clinic, medical facility, or other testing center in order to get tested for COVID-19.
In the United States, the CDC recommends calling the state or local health department, or your doctor. They also warn Americans that tests are in short supply. Because of this shortage, many people who suspect they may have COVID-19 will not be tested. The same goes for those with less common symptoms.
To conserve tests, the CDC does not always recommend testing people with symptoms, as long they stay in quarantine.
The website https://findcovidtesting.com/ allows people to search for testing near them. It’s a good idea to call before you go to make sure that there are still tests available.
Why are tests in such short supply?
The United States is suffering from a lack of testing. We currently have the highest case rate, infection rate, and deaths the world.
Why wasn’t coronavirus contained more rapidly in the United States? This New Yorker article explains how faulty CDC tests and a series of bureaucratic failures allowed the virus to spread unchecked when it first arrived here.
But the damage has been done. And although more than two million people have received tests, we are still lagging behind. There are hundreds of thousands of people who have already tested positive. The number of cases is rising exponentially, and so is the need for COVID-19 tests.
In addition, the FDA is authorizing a number of these tests under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Tests developed by Abbott, Cepheid, and BioMedomics have received FDA EUA, and Scanwell have pending FDA approvals.
Do we need more testing?
South Korea was able to contain the coronavirus before things got out of hand. They tested early, and often. They have tested 40 times more people (per capita) than the United States as of late March.
The current limit for reaching this level of testing is affected by a few factors:
Not enough tests available because of overwhelmed labs
Not enough swabs, face masks, and PPE for doctors and nurses to administer tests
Is there a future for at-home testing?
At-home testing would be a powerful weapon in the fight against COVID-19. Unfortunately, the FDA has currently banned home testing, due to potential lack of accuracy of self-administered tests.
However, the FDA has not ruled out a future for at-home testing, stating “The FDA sees the public health value in expanding the availability of COVID-19 testing through safe and accurate tests that may include home collection, and we are actively working with test developers in this space.”
Continue to check our blogs for more updates about COVID-19 and at-home testing.