With school starting again, students, parents, teachers, other school personnel, and many community members are incredibly anxious about the spread of COVID, especially among young people who are not yet eligible for the vaccines. And we are right to be anxious.
One result is that many people around the country are buying rapid at-home COVID test kits. It’s understandable that we want easy and quick testing available with so many people exposed to the risk of infection almost every day. But most school systems and local governments don’t have the resources to pay for the kits.
And most people in the U.S. can’t afford the test kits either. The price is typically $10-$15 per test. At these rates, a family or household with two school-age kids could spend around $500 per month to feel relatively safe. That is outrageous!
This is a public health crisis. But, like the vaccines, test kits are produced and sold by private, for-profit companies. They can charge what they want and get fat off this health disaster, even if it means most people won’t have access to the care they need. But that’s the way capitalism works – profits before people.