It’s the most sought-after consumer product among city dwellers these days – the government’s free COVID-19 test kits.
According to a survey of 2,500 respondents conducted by the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health, a “huge” 55% of pandemic-weary Big Apple residents have already requested the home tests on the US government’s covidtests website. gov.
It’s market penetration any manufacturer would die for.
“I was shocked,” Dr. Ayman El-Mohandes, dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health, told The Post.
“I didn’t expect such a high number of orders for the home test,” he said. “That’s a huge number.”
The poll is believed to be the first public survey in the United States to measure the number of people ordering the rapid home COVID test kits.
The remaining 45% of respondents said they had not ordered the home test from the site.
According to the survey, two-thirds of respondents who received a vaccine booster ordered the COVID test. By contrast, only about a third of unvaccinated respondents said they had ordered it.
“It is an indication of the vigilance of vaccinated people to contain the spread of the virus,” El-Mohandes said, adding that it is “disappointing” that so many unvaccinated people did not seek the free tests, which poses a permanent risk. to the entire population of the city.
“It’s a shame that so many of us who aren’t vaccinated are resisting the COVID test,” he said. “They should be more willing to get tested to contain the virus, not less.”
The poll also found that mask-wearing was down from a year ago.
In January 2021, 80% of respondents said they always wear a mask in public. In the recent poll, 72% said the same.
The top three reasons residents cited for wanting coronavirus home testing were: to use if they had symptoms of COVID (30%), to have an at-home kit available in case they needed it (25%), and self-test before getting together with friends or family (18 percent).
The Biden administration unveiled its website offering the tests in mid-January as the COVID-19 Omicron variant hit the nation and states such as New York, which includes the Big Apple’s 6.6 million adults. .
Still, El-Mohandes expressed concern about how quickly the government is delivering tests to residents.
He ordered a home COVID test shortly after the website launched – and has yet to receive it.
He said home testing, if used correctly, will be an important part as New York and the United States move from pandemic to endemic.
“Home testing promises to play an important role in the next chapter of limiting the
spread of the COVID virus. Its availability and the way in which the consumer will use it,
determine the success of this intervention,” said the CUNY Dean of Public Health.
The CUNY School of Public Health poll was conducted Jan. 28-30 by Consensus Strategies and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percentage points. Respondents were interviewed over phone lines, cell phones via SMS, and web interviews.
One in eight respondents to the CUNY poll – or 12% – said they ordered tests for work or for future travel.
One of six respondents – 16% – said they did not need a home COVID test kit.
Asked another way, the CUNY poll found that 38% of respondents said they ordered the test at home for convenience, while 29% of New Yorkers said they did so because of long lines. waiting at community or medical testing sites during the recent Omicron wave, which has receded.
Forty percent of Staten Islanders complained about the long lines that were ubiquitous during the peak of the Omicron wave in the city in December and January – the highest complaint rate of any borough in the Big Apple .
Nearly two-thirds of Manhattan residents, or 64%, applied for COVID home testing on the federal website — the highest rate among the five boroughs.
Fifty-six percent of Staten Island and Queens residents said they applied for COVID home testing, followed by 51 percent of respondents in Brooklyn and 48 percent in the Bronx.
The poll found that 21% of city residents – one in five – said they tested positive for COVID after December 1. One in four Hispanics — 26% — tested positive during the Omicron wave, the highest rate of any racial group in the city, which the survey attributed to the number of Latinos who are at greater risk as workers in the front-line services.
The most educated and wealthy residents had the highest rates of demand for home test kits.
For example, 70% of residents earning between $100,000 and $150,000 ordered the COVID tests, compared to 40% for those earning less than $25,000 a year.
Nearly two-thirds of residents with a college degree ordered the tests, while only 43% of adults with a high school diploma or less ordered one.
As for race, 61% of whites ordered the test, followed by Asians and Latinos at 53% and 48% among blacks.