The use of at-home coronavirus tests jumped during the Omicron wave, but disparities remain, a survey suggests.
The use of home coronavirus tests skyrocketed. Omicron’s winter wave in the United States. white, high-income, and highly educated people are likely to report using the tests. An online survey of American adults suggests.
Between December 19 and March 12, 20.1% of survey respondents said. They had symptoms consistent with Covid-19 reported using the test at home. Compared with 5.7% between late August and early December, when Delta was the predominant coronavirus variant in the US. The United States.
The survey showed that home tests increased in the fall and early winter. Peaking in January when 11 percent of respondents reported having used home tests in the previous 30 days.
Nearly 40 percent of those who have used home tests said. They did so because they were in contact with someone with Covid-19; 28.9% said they tested themselves because they had Covid-like symptoms. The researchers found that work, school, and travel testing was less common. Those who were vaccinated and revaccinated were more than twice as likely to report using home tests as those who were not vaccinated.
The study was conducted by scientists from the Boston Children’s Hospital and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is based on an online survey of over 400,000 American adults conducted between August 23 and March 12. Participants were asked if they had symptoms consistent with Covid. It had tested them for the virus within the previous 30 days, and if so, which test they used.
The results are consistent with reports of growing demand for home tests as the highly contagious Omicron variant proliferates. Americans have relied on self-testing as a precautionary measure before and after holiday travel and gatherings. The availability of home tests has also increased in recent months as manufacturers ramped up production and the Biden administration began sending free trials to American households in January.
The researchers say that improving testing education and expanding access to free trials could help reduce inequality. Among respondents with household incomes over $150,000 per year, 9.5 percent reported using home-based tests, compared with 4.7 percent of respondents with household incomes between $50,000 and $74,999 and 3.1 percent with household incomes under $15. 000 dollars. Among those with advanced degrees, 8.4% reported home testing, compared to 3.5% of those with a college degree or more minor. White survey respondents were twice as likely as blacks to report using tests.
The findings come as demand for testing falls and some states begin to close their public testing sites. It is unclear how many of those who tested positive on home tests reported their results to health authorities or confirmed their infection with subsequent PCR tests. But some experts have raised concerns that a growing reliance on home tests could make it harder for officials to track the virus.
Self-reported use of home tests began to decline last month, according to the survey, as the number of cases in the US declined.