US Still Failing Testing Test, Especially for Minorities

A COVID-19 survey of more than 50,000 people in 50 US states surfaced at least 3 important takeaways:

Good News: Testing results are getting back sooner.

Bad News: They’re still not fast enough to help with contact tracing and quarantining.

Worse News: Black Americans have to wait nearly a day longer than whites.

The monthly survey from researchers at Northeastern, Northwestern, Harvard and Rutgers universities found that for the 8,843 respondents who had nasal swab tests, the wait time fell to 2.7 days in September, down from 4 days in April, NPR reports.  

From March through September, test result wait times for survey respondents varied significantly:  

  • Blacks - 4.4 days 
  • Hispanics - 4.1 days. 
  • Asians - 3.6 days 
  • Whites - 3.5 days

“We know that African-Americans and Hispanics are underserved medically,” said survey leader David Lazer of Northeastern University. “This is reflective of that larger reality. It's terrible.”

Getting results is only part of the issue; Access is another. The survey found significant delays among all races between a respondent’s decision to get a test and receiving results: It took whites 5.7 days and Blacks 7.4 days.

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