A new COVID-19 test has been authorized by the FDA, making it the first available for personal at home use (https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/18/health/covid-home-self-test/index.html). It is available by prescription and can be used by individuals age 14 and up, and is also available to individuals age 13 and younger if administered by a healthcare provider. FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said, “While COVID-19 diagnostic tests have been authorized for at-home collection, this is the first that can be fully self-administered and provide results at home.”
This development comes at a time when COVID cares are steadily growing across the nation. Many state and local governments are issuing stay-at-home orders, some for the first time. States like California and Michigan are limiting in person activities, shutting down high traffic areas such as restaurants and high school and college campuses. North Dakota is imposing a mask mandate for the first time during the pandemic as their COVID mortality rate steadily climbs. Other local and state leaders are taking it a step further, imposing curfews and gathering restrictions.
All of this comes during a time when large gatherings are commonplace, between holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, to shopping and vacations. Some are pushing back against this second wave of lockdowns, understandably concerned about the long term effects they could have on small businesses and the economy in general. Republicans in Michigan are even calling to impeach their governor as she has worked unilaterally despite the state Supreme Court ruling limiting her powers.
If effective, this could be a step closer towards normalcy. With good news about a successful vaccine on the horizon and other treatments being explored, the medical community has more knowledge than ever to fight the spread of the virus. The U.S. is not alone in dealing with a second surge of cases, but hopefully this increased knowledge and experience will aid in the fight.
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