The trajectory of the Covid-19 outbreak may change drastically as testing methods change. Ideally, people (at any income level) who are concerned about their own flu-like symptoms should be in a position to test themselves, as easily as one takes one’s own temperature, to get at least a first approximation to a diagnosis, before deciding to consult with a professional. New technologies are emerging that will make that possible over time.
Through July at least, the only way for most people to get themselves tested for Covid in the US has been to go to a designated facility. This often involved waiting in your car in a long line, before reaching some drive-through window. You would then give the administrator your contact information, and in turn receive the results, days or even weeks later.
This has been a scattershot and very inefficient system, unsatisfactory both from an individual and from a public health point of view.
In Pill Form:
One of the great advances in the month of August was a shift toward self-administered approaches to testing. This is bearing fruit, and some knowledgeable physicians foresee the mass marketing of tests within 2021 that will be designed for easy at-home use and that will cost as little as $1 per application.