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COVID-19

A family’s struggle with the costs of coronavirus

Maria Hollenhorst Jan 14, 2022
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The government wants to make it easy to get free at-home coronavirus tests, but there are costs to isolating after receiving a positive result. Photo by Joseph Prezioso/Getty Images
COVID-19

A family’s struggle with the costs of coronavirus

Maria Hollenhorst Jan 14, 2022
Heard on:
The government wants to make it easy to get free at-home coronavirus tests, but there are costs to isolating after receiving a positive result. Photo by Joseph Prezioso/Getty Images
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My Economy” tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.

The Joe Biden administration announced new plans to increase the availability of at-home coronavirus test kits.  

Starting this weekend, private health insurers will be required to reimburse policyholders for up to eight at-home coronavirus tests per month, and next week, the administration said, it will launch a website for Americans to request free masks and test kits. 

But as demand for testing soars, people are turning to friends, community groups and online resellers in search of supplies. 

“In my barter group right now, we have a lot of people looking for testing,” said Veronica Coon, a hairstylist in Henderson, Nevada, who administers the group on Facebook. “It’s been a nightmare for the past couple of weeks trying to find a test.”

When Coon’s husband began experiencing coronavirus symptoms on Jan. 1, they called several pharmacies and made an appointment to get tested in person. 

“It was, you know, five, six days away, and I’m like, I have to know if we have to quarantine or not,” she said. “We ended up getting one from a friend of ours.”

Later that week, Coon and the rest of her family developed symptoms as well. 

“Knowing that my husband was going to have to have a test to go back to work, we went to the doctor [to get tested] last week,” she said. “Sure enough, that one came back positive too.”

Coon said her husband, who works on commercial doors, burned through his accumulated paid time off while isolating last week. 

“This is day 13 for us, so being out of work that long without getting paid is a struggle for us financially,” she said. “My other son had to take an automatic two weeks off of his work, and he’s still waiting for approval to see if he’s going to get paid for that. And with my job — I can’t go to work and work on people as a hairdresser.”

In addition to the lost income, Coon said her family is incurring higher costs as a result of their sickness as well. 

“You have to rely on grocery delivery, and it’s expensive,” she said. “It’s easy to say to be prepared, and we usually have a pretty good food storage, but the inflation and everything has really hurt us.”

Despite that, Coon said she’s grateful that her family’s symptoms weren’t more serious.

“I know I’m not the only one going through this. I know I’m not the only family struggling,” she said. “It just makes you a little bit more compassionate towards other people that are in the same boat, or worse off.”

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