Rapid at-home tests, which typically deliver results within 15 minutes, have become more prevalent and accessible in pharmacies, making the total number of virus cases around the nation more difficult to track. People who test positive using at-home tests typically do not report the results to local health departments, so many new infections are going uncounted.
Still, with more transmissible forms of the virus spreading in recent months, the tests continue to be critical resources for many Americans, including those who can quickly diagnose an infection and receive antiviral treatments such as Paxlovid.
The number of courses of Paxlovid dispensed has increased more than 300 percent over the past month, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Dr. Ashish K. Jha, the White House’s Covid-19 response coordinator, said on Tuesday that the new round of at-home tests were an important resource to help people avoid spreading the virus.