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The early Boston bird catches the rapid Covid-19 test kit

People lined up for test kits in Brighton

Update: All gone in about 15 minutes.

There aren't normally lines outside BPL branches, but Jonathan Kamens reports the line outside the Brighton BPL branch just before 10 a.m. stretched past the neighboring courthouse and down Chestnut Hill Avenue this morning, as people lined up for a chance to get one of those free rapid test kits the city announced yesterday it would be distributing through select libraries and community centers.

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Comments

What a shitshow. Why announce that free at-home tests are available when there aren't even close to enough to meet current demand? What a giant waste of everyone's time.

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But also credit their optimism. Imagine standing in line in this weather to the exclusion of doing literally anything else more fun or productive for a chance at being handed a product that tests you for a sickness that you're already vaccinated against that you might still end up getting anyway after you've taken said test.

There isn't a damn thing about American life in 2021 that makes it so worth living that I would stand in line for a not-guaranteed-to-be-available COVID test kit.

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What kind of moron would want to know if his kids that have been school this week might have gotten COVID and could get their 85 yo. grandparent sick at Christmas? Right?

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I want your company more than I care about whether or not I'm going to get sick and die because I'm, you know, 85.

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Please defend your anti-government take by complaining about the boot of the law coming down on the [checks notes] pedo rapist they just arrested in SC. Man, the government has no useful function, right Will?

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Are we going to have a long trial and an ineffective prison sentence? Or will justice be served quickly, cheaply, and efficiently?

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So if we do give the accused a fair, extensive trial, find them guilty and sentence them to jail, that's not worth it to you?

Enlighten me - what would serving justice quickly, cheaply and efficiently look like? Surely not capital punishment, the most severe curtailing of your rights by the government there can be?

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Get more public defenders trained and hired. I've read that's a problem in some places.

Step two: Half-day court on Saturdays. These people make enough money, I expect more work out of them so that trials can get done quicker.

Agreed on capital punishment: I softened my stance on that as I aged and realized how awful government is at deciding and meting that out. It's embarrassing to our country that our country declared Tsarnaev to be executed half a decade ago, and he's still kicking around.

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Can you imagine how devastated the rest of the family would be knowing they could have taken a test and prevented killing a loved one? Maybe not you, but other families would feel guilty.

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Yeah it's not like the majority of the country is about to be traveling within the next 5 days and might want to have some piece of mind they're not bringing back a virus that could infect an older family member.

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They should be good assuming the vaccines do what they say they do, is what some will say. I find it easier to just not travel and take precautions while out but we all have a life to live.

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As platitudes go, this one is worse than usual given the circumstances.

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I'll mock their hypochondria

You'll mock anyone for any reason, including spurious ones like this. Your inflated sense of superiority makes it inevitable.

I'm remembering a guy who called himself O-FISH-L who also said it was all "hypochondria". We haven't heard from him in some time.

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if we had two years to set up a testing infrastructure that would allow people to obtain a free or reduced price test kit on demand from a wide variety of locations or kiosks. Boy, if we only had that luxury of time, we'd certainly be in a different place than we are now.

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Except that we had less than two years because of the Orange Menace. Also, Omicron appeared out of nowhere on Thanksgiving, which is not the best time to address public health emergencies.

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They currently show available but you can’t complete checkout, anyways keep trying. I’ve purchased a dozen kits there over the past month to keep my family and myself safe and avoid some worry.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/BinaxNOW-COVID-19-Antigen-Self-Test-2-Count/1...

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I'd wager that if the City of Boston were charging a nominal fee (say, $5 or $10) there'd still be people lining up.

The problem is demand. I could see where part of this demand is warranted (Christmas and whatnot) but I also think that some of this is akin to toilet paper at the start of all of this- I may not need it now, but if I need it, I won't be able to get it, so I'm going to stand in line to get the kit.

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50% of various local forum posts are "they have them at CVS" and then, ten minutes later "all out".

And this is at stores charging $25 for a two pack.

My choice is to simply isolate before joining family on Christmas Eve - and my family is doing the same - in the absence of easy to get rapid tests. Scouring stores and standing in lines to get rapid tests gets rather counterproductive rather quickly.

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I mean, there was no demand for testing last Christmas, right?

I'm torn as to whether this is a failure of the free market or a failure of the scientific community. Probably a bit of both.

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We take for granted that things should be instantly available, don’t we? Then we get all kinds of sad when we can’t get rapid Covid tests delivered to our doorstep the next day or Covid vaccine appointments scheduled on 30 minutes’ notice. But in fact all the coordination that goes into instantly fulfilling our every need is in fact more complex and takes longer to set up than we realize. So it’s not a free market failure, a scientific failure or a government failure, it’s just that shit takes time and oh yeah we’re in the middle of a fucking pandemic so take a breather and stop looking for someone to blame.*

OK done. Roast me, tell me how I’m completely wrong.

*except antivaxxers. Fuck them.

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I can't say you are, but if we got a major snow and ice storm and found out that the DPW decided not to buy any road salt, even though it is bought every other winter, we'd be a bit pissed, wouldn't we?

When there were delays in rolling out Covid testing in February/March/April/May of 2020, it was bad (really bad) but understandable. That said, home tests have been around for over a year, and these instant tests have been authorized in the US for over 6 months (a lot longer in Europe, but that's another story.) As I have noted, there was a need for Covid tests last Christmas time. Since then, we have seen the rise of Delta and Omicron. Delta is a 6 month old story. So yes, production of these tests could have been ramped up. Christmas could have been prepared for. We went from "ordinary people shouldn't wear masks" to masks being required and sold everywhere in a matter of 4 months, so don't tell me that winter could not be anticipated. If we were in Europe, this would not be an issue.

Of course, the federal government can make a half billion of these tests appear out of thin air, but CVS can't get them to the level of need. How does this make sense? We're not at the start of this. We're 2 years in.

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I think the initial messaging WRT the utility of masks was a major blunder, and insulting of our intelligence to boot.

As soon as the increased transmissability of the Omicron variant became apparent, production and distribution of tests should have been put into high gear.

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As soon as the increased transmissability of the Omicron variant became apparent, production and distribution of tests should have been put into high gear.

What is to say it hasn't been? Omicron (B.1.1.529) was named a variant of concern on November 26th. At that time, it had not yet been determined to be more transmissible.

What is to say that production of test kits was not ramped up as a result? That's less than a month ago, and with the squeeze on the supply chain and labor, it takes time to exponentially increase production and then distribution.

https://www.who.int/news/item/28-11-2021-update-on-omicron

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And please don't use the WHO for information. They are leading from behind on this.

And lest we forget, Delta is still a thing.

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I'm fairly certain the assumption was always for more variants.

And Delta? Don't you mean B.1.617.2? I mean, you don't want me talking about the WHO, so why would you be using *their* name for the variant?

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It snows every year, DPW knows what it’s doing. Ditto people who make Christmas stuff, same demand pattern every year, nobody’s like “woah what’s up with all these people wanting wrapping paper and fir trees right now?” The last global pandemic was 100 years ago, SARS and MERS and Ebola were foreign warmups. So bad analogy.

Agree with you more on home tests, would’ve been nice if rapid tests had been approved faster by the FDA, produced faster by the companies and the federal government. And there've been smart people calling for cheap mass rapid testing for a while, we should’ve listened. And I guess if you looked back at the testing volume from a year ago you might’ve said “looks like people want tests in the fall and winter!” but that doesn’t mean that everyone will agree and get their shit together. (Also I’m old enough to remember when the Anna Cole Heath St. testing location looked like it would get shut down in May-August.)

Test volumes: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/us/massachusetts-covid-cases.html

But again, this isn’t Christmas or snow in Boston and we haven’t figured out how to predict it. It’s year #2, winter #2. Maybe we’ll get it right next year.

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the weird thing is there appeared to be plenty of tests available (and no lines) at both of the participating Dorchester branches.

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THAT'S TOO FAR

I'm from Vermont and don't bat an eyelash at seven or eight miles.

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Not too weird, as a resident, I only know because I follow the mayor on twitter and check here once a day. Otherwise, I wouldn't even know it was happening.

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Im late to this thread but..

Y'all its not like we didn't know Omicron was coming. It was just gaining ground around thanksgiving. It 'wasnt here yet'.. but thats people's mistake. We havent 'stopped' any variant from coming here yet sooooo I gotta ask.

We knew its still a pandemic
We knew eventually Ormicron would be here
We know the poop scale said it was gonna get bad
We know vaxing isn't 100% effective (you can still carry and pass asymptomatically AND still get it and get sick.. just not as bad)
We know we should get tested before seeing eldery or immune compromised people

So tell me.. WHY THE FUCK WERENT YALL BUYING THESE STUPID THINGS WEEKS AGO. I know PCR testing is different but once again we have a mad dash for something that we knew we would need to travel. CVS near me had them overflowing around thanksgiving cuz no one was buying them.

Its like we got to a week before Christmas and people were like "oh right Covid is still here, I forgot, I should go get tested"

I had the thought that it was 'going to be a disaster' the day after thanksgiving and told my folks not to expect me this year unless magic happens and infection rates go down. It didn't so I'm ordering Chinese on Christmas Day & having a quiet day.

Even before COVID, I fail to see the 'holiday rush' with travel. I'm not much of a Christmas person regardless , but I fail to see why everyone scurries for this holiday. Its stressful. And don't say "but its Christmas" as the reason..

If you love someone and want to be with them, why do you need a special day to do so? I'd rather get a gift in June than December. It means you put some thought into it, not that I was number 8 out of 20 on your christmas shopping list.

And maybe its because Christmas isn't fun for me anymore.. but it just feels forced and fake.

But every year we all scramble around to do this driving ourselves mad.

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WHY THE FUCK WERENT YALL BUYING THESE STUPID THINGS WEEKS AGO.

I wasn't shopping for them, and I'm not shopping for them now, but were "THESE STUPID THINGS" all that available "WEEKS AGO"? Seems to me I remember friends saying they were having trouble finding them back then, as they were looking for test kits for holiday gatherings. Maybe the CVS near you had them falling off the shelves, but was that really representative?

Even before COVID, I fail to see the 'holiday rush' with travel. I'm not much of a Christmas person regardless , but I fail to see why everyone scurries for this holiday. Its stressful.

You, me, same page, sorta. I get why people do it, as in I can understand the causes. I don't share the same drive, and I agree with you about the madness. But we're in the minority.

There doesn't seem any point in trying to argue people out of their feelings, and three days before Christmas isn't the best time to get people to calmly reexamine their approach to "the holidays". A lot of people would probably be happier if they did so. But it's hard to do when others put expectations on you.

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I'm pretty sure procrastination figures large in many people's holiday preparations.

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