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National survey: Nearly two-thirds of Americans have to wait more than 2 days for coronavirus results

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The Boston Globe, August 2020

Many people in the United States aren’t getting their coronavirus test results back quickly, which could be a major stumbling block for efforts to stop the pandemic, according to a national survey. More than 63 percent of people nationally had to wait longer than two days to get their results back, according to the survey released Monday by researchers from Northeastern University, Harvard University, Rutgers University, and Northwestern University.

“Rapid turnaround of testing for COVID-19 infection is essential to containing the pandemic. Ideally, test results would be available the same day. Our findings indicate that the United States is not currently performing testing with nearly enough speed,” researchers said in their report.

The overall average wait time was 4.1 days. But 21 percent of people said they waited more than five days, including 10 percent who said they had to wait 10 days or more.

“If we have any hope to contain COVID-19, it will be because strategies like contact tracing have worked. Contact tracing will only work well if there’s a fast turnaround on testing,” said David Lazer, a Northeastern University political science and computer science professor who was a researcher for the study.

Continue reading at The Boston Globe.

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