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U.S. COVID-19 Testing Too Slow, Survey Says

Rutgers scholar Katherine Ognyanova is available to comment on the latest Rutgers-Harvard-Northeastern-Northwestern survey data on waiting times for diagnostic tests across the United States from The COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Policy Preferences Across States.

The researchers surveyed 19,058 people across all 50 states plus the District of Columbia from July 10 to July 26. To evaluate typical waiting times, researchers asked people how long they waited for their testing results.

To view the full report and findings, click here. Among the findings:

  • Only 37% percent of people tested by nasal swab received results within two days. The average wait time was 4.1 days, with 31% of tests taking more than four day and 10% taking 10 days or more.
  • People whose last test was in April waited an average of 4.2 days to get results. People tested in July waited an average of 4.1 days.
  • Most (63%) people are not getting results within the one to two days that would be optimal to aid contact tracing.
  • A substantial minority (21%) of people are receiving test results too late (five plus days) to be of any significant assistance in helping to control the spread of the coronavirus.
  • The testing challenges are national in scope, with most states reporting a median waiting time of three days or more.
  • Waiting times are longer for African Americans (five days) and Hispanic Americans (4.6 days) compared to white respondents.

Katherine Ognyanova, an assistant professor at Rutgers’ School of Communication and Information, does research in network science, computational social science, social technology, media, civic and political communication.

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