I took an at-home Covid-19 test. I can see my friends now, right?

Theoretically, if everyone in a group tests negative for SARS-CoV-2, they could all safely meet up indoors with no masks or physical distancing. Yet with ongoing shortages of federal and state-provided testing in some areas, plus significant lag times to get results, it’s been hard for Americans to successfully carry out these plans.

Enter capitalism. The US Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorization to several at-home Covid-19 tests developed by companies like LabCorp, Quest, and Everlywell. These tests offer nearly everyone the ability to collect a nasal swab sample from the convenience of their couch, and they’ve become a popular option for those who want to try to regain a semblance of normalcy. But it’s important to remember that negative test result can’t eliminate transmission risk entirely. Together with other risk-mitigation strategies, they simply make some lower risk hangouts possible.

How do at-home Covid-19 tests work?

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