The demand for rapid tests remains high. But how should they be used, especially before holiday gatherings?
Dr. Gigi Gronvall is a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
She says it’s going to be hard to get your COVID-19 risk down to zero, but there are things you can do to mitigate risk.
Being in close proximity with other vaccinated people and doing what you can to ensure good air filtration when you are gathered are a few of them.
But those rapid tests are helpful too.
"The rapid test has a lot of advantages because it’s fast, you get results in 15 to 30 minutes, and then you can make decisions right then and there for what you’re going to do," Dr. Gronvall said.
Gronvall said rapid tests are nearly just as reliable as PCR tests, but may not be quite as sensitive. Gronvall says the later you can wait before a gathering to take a rapid test, the better.
"Omicron replicates really fast. So you can be infected and be below the limits of detection of a test, and then a few hours later, you would have turned positive, so you need to test as close to the event as possible to get the most accurate results," Gronvall said.