Just a note that all Americans are now entitled to their third free set of rapid antigen test kits for covid-19. Most of you are familiar with these: you swab your nostrils, swirl the swab in a special liquid, and then squeeze the liquid into a depression on a small plastic device (first picture below) In 15 minutes you get a simple readout that says whether or not the kit has detected antigens: the spike proteins presented by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that is responsible for COVID-19. (The vaccine is designed to prompt your body to produce antibodies to these antigens.)
The devices look like this; you also get a swab, a vial of liquid, and detailed instructions with diagrams.
And the results look like this after 15 minutes. If you have the one on the left with a “C”, no antigen was seen; you’re negative. (That does not mean for certain that you’re free from infection; these tests do give false negatives.) If you have two lines, at both site “C” and site “T”, you have antigen and are infected (again, there can be false positives). A faint line a “T” still indicates infection.
These are not as good as PCR tests, which remain the gold standard for testing for covid, but they’re useful to have around, and when I was feeling stuffy the other day, I gave myself two tests a day apart (I was fine.)
I think they’re expensive if you buy them, but the U.S. government is sending Americans two free kits in a third round of distribution. Each kit has FOUR tests, so you can test yourself eight times. (It’s easy to do!).
To get yours, and you should get them now, go here to the government website, which explains the kits and allows you to order by phone, or go here to order them by email, as I did, by clicking on the blue button the first website. All you do is fill in your name and address, and the Postal Service will ship you two packages of four kits. There is no charge for anything, but be sure to push the green checkout button.
Two points. I’m not a doctor, so ask your physician for help in interpreting the results or finding out when to test and what to do if you are positive. Also, this is for American citizens only, provided as a service by the gubmint.