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Faster, But Not Fast Enough

NPR reports that while people are getting the results of their tests for COVID-19 back faster than earlier in the year, it's still not fast enough to help viral control measures.

Researchers from the COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public's Policy Preferences Across States asked 52,329 people in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia about their COVID-19 testing experiences. Of the 52,329 people surveyed, 8,843 had undergone COVID-19 testing via nasal swab.

In their new report, the researchers, who hail from Northeastern University, Harvard Medical School, and other US universities, found that the average wait time for a COVID-19 test result fell from an average 4.0 days in April to an average 2.7 days in September. Black and Hispanic Americans, though, typically reported longer wait times than white or Asian Americans, the researchers note.

Even with results coming faster, the researchers say these times "are too slow in most cases to support a successful strategy of contact tracing."

Further, the researchers note that many respondents reported having to wait to receive a test, and that only slightly more than half of the respondents who received a positive test result said they had been contacted as part of a contact tracing effort.