One-third of US households used government’s free COVID test website: CDC
Younger Americans were more likely to use the test kits than older Americans.
(ABC NEWS)—About one-third of American households used tests from the free at-home COVID-19 test site launched by the Biden administration, new federal data shows.
COVIDTests.gov was first launched in January 2022, when President Joe Biden pledged to give out 1 billion free rapid tests to combat the omicron surge at the time.
The site was temporarily shut down in fall 2022 but relaunched in December as part of the White House’s winter preparedness plan.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which published its report Thursday, said more than 70 million test kits were shipped across the United States. The CDC report details how many kits were used and which groups used them.
The agency conducted a survey of 3,400 Americans aged 18 and older between April 14, 2022, and May 13, 2022, who were tested for COVID-19 in the previous six months.
Results showed that 59.9% of households — equivalent to about 77 million households — had ordered government kits. Only 38.3% — equivalent to about 49 million — reported using a test kit.
Of that group, 23.6% said they likely would not have tested without the COVIDTests.gov program.
There were no major differences when it came to who used the site by race and/or ethnicity.
About 42.1% of Black households placed at least one order as did 41.5% of Hispanic households, 34.8% of white households and 53.7% of households of other races.
As for other at-home tests — such as from a pharmacy, a doctor’s office or a drive-thru site — only about 11.8% of Black households used them compared to 45.8% of white households.
“Compared with White persons, Black persons were 72% less likely to use other home test kits,” the report read. “Provision of tests through this well-publicized program likely improved use of COVID-19 home testing and health equity in the United States, particularly among Black persons.”
Households made up of those aged 65 and older were the least likely to have used a test kit from the website, with only 26.8% doing so.
Meanwhile, households with individuals between ages 18 and 34 were the most likely to use a kit.
There were no major differences when it came to who used the program based on which region of the U.S. they lived in, education level or household income.
Additionally, participants were asked if they were aware of the COVIDTests.gov program and how the experience was.
The CDC found that 93.8% of households knew what the program was. Among those who used the test kits 95.5% rated the experience as “very acceptable” or “acceptable.”
“These data indicate that provision of free COVID-19 tests through the COVIDTests.gov program was not only widely used, but also provided a mechanism for millions of persons to receive COVID-19 testing who otherwise might not have,” the authors wrote.
“Moreover, this program likely led to improvement in equity of COVID-19 testing … these findings support the substantial health value of national programs that address critical health needs during a pandemic response,” they continued.