Will Americans use their free at-home test kits to ensure negative official test results as needed?

In a triumph of central planning, the test kits that nobody can buy will now be free. “Insurers Will Have to Cover 8 At-Home Virus Tests Per Month” (New York Times, 1/10):

The Biden administration announced the new guidelines as it continued to work to get coronavirus tests to people regardless of their insurance status.

Private insurers will soon have to cover the cost of eight at-home coronavirus tests per member per month, the Biden administration said Monday.

“Today’s action further removes financial barriers and expands access to Covid-19 tests for millions of people,” Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the Biden administration’s Medicare and Medicaid chief, said in a statement about the new guidelines.

From the CVS around the corner from our apartment, also on January 10:

(It’s Florida, so, even in Palm Beach County, apparently there is no demand for a “please wear a mask” sign on the front door.)

A family of four would be entitled to 384 kits per year, which happens to be exactly 384 more kits than are available at all of the CVS stores within 20 miles right now. Joe Biden’s campaign site, November 2, 2020:

As President Biden is not a liar like the previous dictator, presumably Uncle Joe will make good on this campaign promise and when that glorious day arrives, someone can actually get 384 kits. What could he/she/ze/they possibly do with them?

One use scenario comes from the comments on Protected by masks on a 100-percent full flight in which SK describes a family that was excluded from returning from Cancun to Seattle by air due to having tested positive while on vacation. They legally took a domestic flight to Tijuana, legally crossed the land border (no test required, whether one is a current or future U.S. citizen!), and then another domestic flight from San Diego to Seattle.

Suppose this family wanted to be sure of catching their flight home to Seattle and they had all of the reagent fluid from their 384 kits. What would stop them from, before taking the official test, using this fluid as a nasal spray to bind to whatever antibodies the official test’s reagent is going to bind to? Then they flush their noses with saline and/or alcohol spray. Five minutes later, they take their official tests. At that point, isn’t it likely that there wouldn’t be enough test-triggering stuff left in their noses to result in positive tests?

(And, actually, this makes me wonder how big families can travel internationally right now. Isn’t it virtually certain that at least one child, for example, will test positive? At that point, though, the entire family will be stuck in quarantine prison for 10 days. Who would willingly take this risk?)

A recent Facebook post:

In other words, the trip to Jamaica turned into a prison experience, albeit a prison with a view.

Related:

10 thoughts on “Will Americans use their free at-home test kits to ensure negative official test results as needed?

  1. Sorry to ruin your thesis, but it is unlikely results from an at-home test would be accepted for international travel. At-home tests have been widely available in the UK for some time, but an official result from a professionally administered test is required to meet their travel rules. The CDC mandated test before departure to the US can be an at-home test only if it is supervised by a telehealth service.

    • ABA: My original post must not have been clear. The at-home test kits in the above example are not being used in order to obtain a result. They’re being used to clean out the nose so that the official test is more likely to come out negative.

  2. Fortunately empty shelves do not matter, because the pandemic will end soon. Democrats have found their own Ivermectin (Cannabis), this time backed by Science:

    https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jnatprod.1c00946

    “Orally bioavailable and with a long history of safe human use, these cannabinoids, isolated or in hemp extracts, have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2.”

    • Anon: This gives me so much joy! After nearly 2 years of talking about the marijuana shops that California and Maskachusetts governors declared “essential”, we discover that they were simply following the Science.

  3. Thank you for bringing up the Nozin Nasal Sanitizer. I’ve been hearing radio ads for this thing for months now and nobody seems to realize that it will, of course, skew test results. You’ll feel cleaner than ever but what test is going to detect your COVID status after you run that stuff through your nostrils? However, your nose will be clean and Nozin will make money!

    I think NPR advertises this stuff more than anyone else.

    https://www.nozin.com/

    Mail:
    Nozin
    P.O. Box 70663
    Chevy Chase, MD 20813

  4. > And, actually, this makes me wonder how big families can travel internationally right now. Isn’t it virtually certain that at least one child, for example, will test positive? At that point, though, the entire family will be stuck in quarantine prison for 10 days. Who would willingly take this risk?

    Hahah. I had a very good friend in College who was a Russian expat, very intelligent and a true gentleman, now a very successful physician. His most famous advice to some other friends one night, which caused a hilarious uproar, was: “Listen, you do your best first. But if that doesn’t work…you cheat. That’s it! Cheat!”

  5. My employer is realizing it’s at risk of the opposite (fradulent) use of the at-home covid test kit. An employee out on paid covid sick leave (this is special, unlimited paid sick leave, over and above the employee’s regular 80 hours per year) is required to provide HR with a negative test result before returning to work.

    However, since the at-home test result shows no personal identifier (i.e. name of the test subject), the risk is that one (random; i.e. from a friend or family member) positive test result will be photographed by the employee claiming covid and texted to HR to “prove” that the employee still has covid and cannot return to work. This can go on for weeks. Dozens of employees have been out on paid covid sick leave for four, five, six or more weeks over the past few months.

    Last week my employer had 200 people out of work on paid covid sick leave for the whole week (out of 900 total employees), with no known return date, and no idea how many more next week.

  6. And don’t forget – by “free” Uncle Joe means that your insurance costs for next year will go up by the cost of the average number of test kits used by a family this year, PLUS your share of the costs of the test kits given to families without health insurance. No way the insurance company is going to just eat this cost. The house always wins!

  7. If someone is clever enough to disinfect their nose before testing, they deserve a negative test result. Most people have no clue how a virus works, spreads, what bacteria does, etc. I am constantly suprised at the number of people that ask me, now that I am over my personal rendition of Omicron; When am I scheduling my booster shot? When I ask: for what? They tell me so that I will stop spreading COVID . The un- boosted are COVID spreaders to the boosted, regardless of past infections!!! Formerly clever people think this!

  8. The Amerikan people will never figure out that the free stuff is just making their $5 bread more expensive & their boss’s $10 million dog house more valuable.

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