For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.
More people are testing for COVID-19 at home, thanks to broader availability of at-home rapid COVID-19 tests. And many people are also experiencing milder symptoms, thanks to COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses, which substantially cut the risk of severe disease and the need for hospital care.
As more people do at-home testing, however, a large chunk of COVID-19 cases are going unreported. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention itself says there is “currently limited use for collecting self-test result data to inform public health surveillance,” though the agency remains confident in “situational awareness” without the receipt of self-test results.
Asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and at-home test results are a few reasons why experts think the current case numbers may be big underestimations. This year, the CDC changed the way it monitors COVID-19 risk in the US to include measures like hospitalization numbers, health care capacity and the level of virus in our wastewater. But knowing the case count in your community can still be an important tool when deciding whether it’s safe to go to a movie theater or dine indoors.
“These at-home rapid tests result in us underestimating the number of people who truly have COVID,” said Keri Althoff, epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “And therefore also underestimate the number of what we know as our COVID transmission rates per 100,000 population.”
Even though it may not make it into the US COVID-19 case counts, the CDC encourages everyone who tests positive to report that result to their health care provider (or public health department if you don’t have a primary care doctor).
Here’s what to do if you test positive for COVID-19 at home, and a brush-up on isolation and quarantine guidance.
2 things to do you test positive for COVID-19 at home
If you take an at-home rapid test and it turns up positive, assume you have COVID-19. While it’s true at-home rapid tests are less sensitive than the “gold standard” PCR tests (about 10% to 20% less sensitive, according to Hackensack Meridian Health), and more likely to give you a false negative result, positive results from self-tests are “highly reliable,” according to the CDC.
“If you test negative on an at-home test but think you have COVID-19 because you have symptoms or were exposed, consider testing again 24 to 48 hours later,” the CDC says. Then, after a couple of spaced-out negative tests, you’ll be able to feel more confident that your negative result is truly negative.
There are two important steps to take after a positive home test result.
Follow the CDC guidance on isolation
Once you test positive, start following the CDC’s guidance for isolating (staying away from others if you’re sick or test positive for COVID-19).
Regardless of your vaccination status, the CDC advises staying home for at least five days, with Day 0 being the day that you tested positive. You should also isolate from people in your home, or wear a well-fitting mask if you can’t avoid others. You can end your isolation after five days, as long as your symptoms are gone or improving and you’ve been fever-free for at least 24 hours. However, you should still wear a mask and avoid travel for at least 10 days.
Report to your doctor or health department
If you test positive with an at-home COVID-19 test, call your primary care doctor, Althoff said. Not only will your doctor be able to direct you to treatments like Paxlovid if you’re at high risk for severe COVID-19, but in some cases, your clinician will have a system at their disposal that allows them to funnel a self-reported test result into official COVID-19 counts.
But it’s a lot less likely your COVID-19 result will end up in your state’s official count than if you were to test positive a second time at the doctor’s office, or at a mass testing site or clinic, according to Althoff.
“Calling your doctor and giving them that information is important for your individual health, but we shouldn’t misconstrue that to think that that information is now going into our surveillance systems,” she said.
Many states have mandated the reporting of COVID-19 test results, Althoff said, but those tests are typically done in clinical settings. The information coming from a laboratory that processes a PCR test, for example, then goes straight to the health department; these are “established systems,” she says. Even if you report a test from home to your health department, it’s often lacking necessary data needed for an official report per the CDC. “The data element itself and the data structure are different,” Althoff said.
Still, you should call your health department or doctor to report a positive at-home test result. (Here’s a list of health departments in the US.) You can also check in directly with your county or city to see if they have a more direct way to report a test result. Some areas, like Washington state, have direct hotlines for reporting an at-home COVID-19 positive.
You may also be asked to provide additional information to the health department if you phone or email it in, like your age and vaccination status.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
True to form, Nothing has just announced the full reveal date for its upcoming audio product, Ear (stick).
So, an announcement about an announcement. You’ve got to hand it to Carl Pei’s marketing department, they never miss a trick.
What we’re saying is that although we still have ‘nothing’ conclusive about the features, pricing or release date for the Ear (stick) except an image of another model holding them (and we’ve seen plenty of those traipsing down the catwalk recently), we do have a date – the day when we’ll be granted official access to this information.
That day is October 26. Nothing assures us that on this day we’ll be able to find out everything, including pricing and product specifications, during the online Ear (stick) Reveal, at 3PM BST (which is 10AM ET, or 1AM on Wednesday if you’re in Sydney, Australia) on nothing.tech (opens in new tab).
Any further information? A little. Nothing calls the Ear (stick), which is now the product’s official name, “the next generation of Nothing sound technology”, and its “most advanced audio product yet”.
But that’s not all! Apparently, Ear (stick) are “half in-ear true wireless earbuds that balance supreme comfort with exceptional sound, made not to be felt when in use. They’re feather-light with an ergonomic design that’s moulded to your ears. Delivered in a unique charging case, inspired by classic cosmetic silhouettes, and compactly formed to simply glide into pockets.”
Opinion: I need more than a lipstick-style case
Nothing Ear (stick) – official leaked renders pic.twitter.com/FrhKmRttmiOctober 1, 2022
Aside from this official ‘news’ from Nothing, leaked images and videos of the Ear (stick) have been springing up all over the internet (thank you, developer Kuba Wojciechowski) and they depict earbuds that look largely unchanged, which is a shame.
For me, the focus needs to shift from gimmicks such as a cylindrical case with a red section at the end which twists up like a lipstick. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of theater, but only if the sound coming from the earbuds themselves is top dog.
See, that lipstick case shape likely will not support wireless charging. That and the rumored lack of ANC means the Ear (stick) is probably arriving as the more affordable option in Nothing’s ouevre.
For now, we sit tight until October 26.
Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.
You might soon have to buy YouTube Premium to watch 4K YouTube videos, a new user test suggests.
According to a Reddit thread (opens in new tab) highlighted on Twitter by leaker Alvin (opens in new tab), several non-Premium YouTube users have reported seeing 4K resolution (and higher) video options limited to YouTube Premium subscribers on their iOS devices. For these individuals, videos are currently only available to stream in up to 1440p (QHD) resolution.
The apparent experiment only seems to be affecting a handful of YouTube users for now, but it suggests owner Google is toying with the idea of implementing a site-wide paywall for access to high-quality video in the future.
So, after testing up to 12 ads on YouTube for non-Premium users, now some users reported that they also have to get a Premium account just to watch videos in 4K. pic.twitter.com/jJodoAxeDpOctober 1, 2022
It’s no secret that Google has been searching for new ways to monetize its YouTube platform in recent months. In September, the company introduced five unskippable ads for some YouTube users as part of a separate test – an unexpected development that, naturally, didn’t go down well with much of the YouTube community.
A resolution paywall seems a more palatable approach from Google. While annoying, the change isn’t likely to provoke the same level of ire from non-paying YouTube users as excessive ads, given that many smartphones still max out at QHD resolution anyway.
Of course, if it encourages those who do care about high-resolution viewing to invest in the platform’s Premium subscription package, it may also be more lucrative for Google. After all, YouTube Premium, which offers ad-free viewing, background playback and the ability to download videos for offline use, currently costs $11.99 / £11.99 / AU$14.99 per month.
Suffice to say, the subscription service hasn’t taken off in quite the way Google would’ve hoped since its launch in 2014. Only around 50 million users are currently signed up to YouTube Premium, while something close to 2 billion people actively use YouTube on a monthly basis.
Might the addition of 4K video into Premium’s perk package bump up that number? Only time will tell. We’ll be keeping an eye on our own YouTube account to see whether this resolution paywall becomes permanent in the coming months.
Axel is a London-based staff writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the newest movies to latest Apple developments as part of the site’s daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.
Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned a gold standard NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.
USB-C has come a long way since its debut in 2014, now becoming the standard for charging and basic data transfer (on everything except the iPhone, of course!) as well as audio and video for more and more devices. The European Parliament, long enamored with the idea of a consumer- and environmentally-friendly standard for charging devices, is pushing it forward even further. A newly-passed law says that almost all portable electronics will need to charge via USB-C by 2026.
At this point, most new laptops already use USB-C charging, taking advantage of the standard’s flexibility to deliver a range of wattages up to 100 watts. There are two exceptions: the top of the market and the bottom. Cheap budget laptops are still sometimes equipped with less expensive, semi-proprietary barrel charging cables or something like Lenovo’s rectangular charger.
On the other hand, power-hungry laptops that need more than 100 watts still use proprietary connections for their massive adapters. The USB Implementers Forum is working on expanding that limit and some of these laptops can still charge slowly over USB-C. These are the only laptops that Europe will allow to be sold with proprietary chargers after the spring of 2026. While nothing forces manufacturers to follow this new law worldwide, streamlined manufacturing and economy of scale will effectively force the rest of the world to follow in practice if not in legislation.
Parliament posted its reasoning online (spotted by Windows Central), saying that this move will encourage technological innovation and give consumers access to more interoperability with a bonus that more easily-reusable cables and chargers means less electronic waste. The post estimates that it will help consumers save up to 250 million euro a year on new charger purchases.
The bigger news is that this move is likely to finally force Apple to abandon the Lightning connector for the iPhone, cheaper iPads, and a few lingering accessories. (Apple already uses USB-C charging on most iPads and all Macbooks.) The switch for smaller mobile devices will happen by the end of 2024. This includes “all new mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, earbuds and laptops that are rechargeable via a wired cable.” (Note: This technically creates a loophole for any device that recharges via wireless only.) That should give laptop manufacturers plenty of time to flush out the remaining old-fashioned chargers from their assembly lines.
Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.