news·3 min read

Daily Skimm: COVID-19: Testing, Wisconsin, and the One with the "Friends" Reunion

A nurse takes a swab at a Covid-19 Drive-Through testing station
Getty Images
Apr 22, 2020

TESTING, 1, 2, 3

The Story

The first at-home COVID-19 test kit just got approved.

You said "first?"

That's right. While companies have rolled out all sorts of coronavirus tests, LabCorp is the first to get emergency FDA approval for its at-home version. Important, because it could expand access to testing to help states reopen their economies.

Interesting. How do I get this test?

You'll have to wait. Health care workers and first responders are the first to get access. But most Americans should be able to buy the test kit "in the coming weeks." It costs $119 but insurance companies may cover it. New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Rhode Island apparently have laws banning at-home no at-home swabbing there.


Here's how it works: fill out a survey to see if you need the kit. Then, if a doctor gives the okay, you can buy the kit (think: cotton swabs and collection tube) and have it shipped to your home. Then you'd take a swab to gather a sample from your nose and send that precious cargo to LabCorp. The results would then be posted online.

And it's safe, right?

The FDA commissioner called it "as safe and accurate" as testing in hospitals or official sites. And by doing it yourself, clinicians don't run the risk of getting infected. This could free up more personal protective equipment (PPE) – something the US has been in need of.


Public health and state officials have said that testing is important to curb the coronavirus. While widespread testing remains an obstacle, this new at-home kit could provide one safer and more accessible option.

Skimm More: We explain why the US has struggled with COVID-19 testing here.


After more than a week of negotiations between the White House and congressional leaders, the Senate passed a $484 billion interim coronavirus funding bill by a voice vote. Under the bill, the help would go to:

Paycheck Protection Program...which would get an additional $310 billion after it ran out of money last week. This includes $60 billion for small businesses that may have had trouble getting loans.

Small business disaster fund...which would get another $60 billion. This one can give businesses up to $10,000 in loans and grants for emergencies.

Hospitals and testing...which would get $100 billion – $75 billion for hospitals stretched thin during the pandemic and $25 billion for expanded coronavirus testing, a portion of which would go to state governments for things like contact tracing.

Next up, the bill heads to the House – where it's expected to pass tomorrow. Then it needs President Trump's sign-off.


Whose past is catching up with them…

Wisconsin's. Two weeks ago, thousands of voters showed up to cast their ballots in the state's primary, despite stay-at-home orders because of COVID-19. Now, a state public health officer said at least seven people may have contracted the virus by taking part in the election. The cases include multiple voters and a poll worker, but the public health officer said that more people could have been exposed.

Who's saying 'all cleats, cleats'...

Gronk. The retired tight end for the New England Patriots is throwing his cleats back on the field. After announcing his retirement last year, Rob Gronkowski has now agreed to return to the NFL – this time, as a Buccaneer. He'll be reuniting with his QB(FF) Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.

When you hear the Bee won't be buzzing this year...

Neither will UCB in NY.

What's decided to pivot…

This reunion special.

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