And now for something completely different: a heartwarming story about COVID-19.
Such tales are unavailable in these bleak days – so meet Scott Krager, the Portland software developer behind you 8tests.com, A constantly updated website that scans major retailers selling in-home COVID tests to instantly let you know what’s in stock and available to order.
Work began on it on Monday. After about 20 hours of programming, the site launched on Wednesday, and has already garnered more than 10,000 hits, says Krager.
The motivation behind the site was twofold: First, Krager wasn’t interested in having 20 different tabs open on his computer simultaneously, constantly scrolling back and forth and hitting the update hoping he’d be in the right place, at the right time when Amazon, Walgreens, and CVS, Wal-Mart, Rite-Aid and other major retailers have restocked rapid test supplies online. (If you click on tests and buy them from some retailer, Krager earns a small commission, which he says will go to keep the site’s backend running.)
Another alert came from President Joe Biden, who announced earlier this week that starting Saturday, health insurance companies will have to reimburse you for eight free at-home tests for COVID-19 per month — for everyone in your household. With two packages retailing for about $20 to $25 right now, a hundred dollars a month can be saved for a family of four.
The site is only for tests that are shipped for delivery; It doesn’t tell you if test kits are on the shelves at Walgreens near you for immediate use, nor does it find PCR test appointments, another need of the COVID era unavailable. But it does tell you when the test kits will be delivered, allowing you to plan accordingly.
Says Krager, who founded a search engine optimization startup in 2012, sold it in 2017, then spent six months working as an emergency medical technician in Seattle. “You should be able to go into any store and come up with a bunch of tests, but that’s a good move, as it at least gives people compensation, and hopefully you can get into the free tests very easily.”
Krieger, whose brother is a deputy public health official in Clark County, Washington, had an early idea that Omicron might be upsetting the epidemic accounts again, so he stockpiled the tests in the late fall, when they were still relatively plentiful. He has found, he says, that being able to do a quick home test brings at least some peace of mind in uncertain times:[Tests] Very useful for social interactions, where you just want to feel more comfortable and know that you are not just symptomatic. So hopefully any other tests in people’s hands will reduce people’s anxiety, and just help reduce the spread in general, because if you’re asymptomatic, and you test positive, you can stay home and self-isolate.
Tests are still scarce, though Oregon announced two weeks ago that it would order six million kits to distribute to health care systems, nonprofits, and K-12 schools, among other places. But a spokeswoman for the Oregon Health Authority said the delivery of these kits had been delayed due to supply chain issues. Oregonian This week, the full order is not expected to be completed until February. The omicron increase is expected to peak in the state by late January.