When Amir Blumenfeld was deciding what to buy for a Secret Santa gift exchange, he landed on something practical: an at-home Covid-19 testing kit. “What better gift is there than peace of mind?” Mr. Blumenfeld, a 38-year-old comedian, wrote in a direct message on Twitter.
At the heart of his quip was an urgent concern: Coronavirus cases are once again rising around the United States as the Delta variant has given way to Omicron, a highly contagious form of the virus. The surge has fueled demand for Covid tests ahead of the Christmas holiday as families seek ways to gather safely.
Some have braved hourslong lines at local testing sites to receive polymerase chain reaction tests, whose results, obtained in a laboratory, are considered the gold standard for detecting the virus. Many others have rushed to buy rapid at-home tests, depleting the stock at pharmacies and online stores. The frenzy for at-home testing has turned the kits into a commodity and even made them covetable holiday presents.
On Tuesday, President Biden announced a plan to fight the spread of Omicron, which includes distributing 500 million free rapid tests to the public, though it is not yet clear how that target number will be met. Various states, including New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, have also laid out plans for increasing access to free rapid tests.
destroying materials used in its tests, citing limited shelf life, said the company is currently making more than 50 million BinaxNOW rapid antigen test kits every month. In
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