No Tests for the Weary

​​The surge in Omicron infections has made securing free in-person COVID-19 testing appointments difficult in recent weeks. With most store shelves depleted of at-home rapid tests, those with financial means have resorted to paying hundreds out-of-pocket to get tested.

Meanwhile, some employees of prominent organizations and corporate giants have free and easy access to at-home tests:

  • Google has provided high-end molecular tests to all full-time personnel, even though most employees are still working from home.
  • Wells Fargo and American Airlines offer testing to workers who must interact with customers in person.
  • JPMorgan Chase provides rapid tests and PCR tests to employees for free and has implemented a testing policy for unvaccinated workers.
  • Microsoft and Mastercard offer at-home and in-person testing.

On the contrary, many front-line workers are facing extreme burnout as they work hours of overtime to cover for sick colleagues – many of whom are not paid sick leave. Retailers that rolled back COVID-safety protocols and hazard pay in the summer are reluctant to reinstate or enforce mask mandates, leaving workers feeling exposed and undervalued.

In an effort to close the divide between the haves and have-nots, the Biden Administration announced it would send at-home tests to every household for free. The administration may also soon provide high-quality face masks like N95s or KN95s to the public at no charge after the CDC updated guidance to encourage the public to wear masks that offer the highest protection.