NIH launches ‘When to Test’ for COVID-19 calculator

The National Institutes of Health has introduced a new online calculator that will help people and organizations answer an increasingly occurring question: Should I get tested for COVID-19 today?

The NIH’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics announced Wednesday the launch of the "When to Test" or "WTT" calculator , which uses a mathematical model to determine a person’s relative risk of having or getting COVID-19 and the risk of spreading the virus to other people.

"By responding to just a few prompts, the new individual impact calculator indicates whether a person should get a test —now or soon," the NIH’s press release stated.

The results are based on information the user provides, including vaccination status, transmission rates in their geographic area and mitigation behaviors. 


Example results from "When to Test" calculator. (Credit: NIH)

The calculator does not provide medical advice or say definitely whether an individual should or should not get tested.

The NIH says it simply supports a person’s decision-making process and is intended to help decrease the spread of COVID-19.

The calculator also includes answers to frequently asked questions and links to resources on testing strategies and obtaining supplies, including home tests.


Health Care Worker seals a coronavirus swab after testing at the Pro Health Urgent Care coronavirus testing site on April 30, 2020 in Wantagh, New York. (Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)

The health organization said the calculator is a companion to a version for organizations introduced last winter, but the NIH isn’t the only organization to release COVID-19 safety calculators for the public.

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In September, a group of researchers with the MicroCOVID Project released an online tool to help people calculate their risk of getting COVID-19 based on specific scenarios.

Utilizing the user's responses to questions and state or country-specific COVID-19 data and various studies of the virus, the calculator tool assesses the user's risk of contracting COVID-19. 

The NIH’s testing calculator comes as demand increases for COVID-19 testing among individuals and families, and as winter approaches and people shift to indoor activities and holiday gatherings. 

There were more than 72,000 new positive COVID-19 cases reported Tuesday in the United States, according to the latest data by John’s Hopkins University. The country reported 1,461 new deaths.

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You can access the "When to Test" calculator here

This story was reported from Los Angeles. FOX Business and the Associated Press contributed.