At-Home Coronavirus Tests Are Inaccessible to Blind People
As at-home COVID-19 testing takes off in the United States, the kits as currently packaged are of little use to the blind — who already have limited screening options. Rapid antigen tests are helping millions know their status, but vision-impaired persons are challenged by the precision required for the delicate process and by the lack of Braille directions. Some turn to video call apps, but most simply isolate from the world until their symptoms resolve. Advocates are pushing for ways to make at-home tests more accessible to this community, such as by manufacturing tactile versions or at least adding a touchable template to guide users. Other possibilities include modifying the test instructions or using changes in a metric other than color to signify results. "It's not really rocket science," says Mark Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind. "There's some easy things we can do." In Britain, accessible instructions already walk blind test-takers through the process using Braille, large text, or audio prompts. As the United States works to catch up, a few private companies are dispatching workers to people's homes to collect samples and run tests; however, these services cost more and are geographically limited.
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