Poll of Peet freshmen shows differing opinions on free COVID tests, masks

On Dec. 21, Biden announced that the government had bought half a billion COVID-19 tests to be purchased for free and shipped country-wide, with citizens able to purchase up to four per household at once. Although the Biden administration has been trying to spread the news of the COVID tests, a poll of Peet freshmen by the Tiger Hi-Line showed that most learned of the free COVID tests and masks on about Jan. 19 (median average). The same survey showed that 70 percent found the free tests to be a good idea, 10 percent disapproved and the remaining 20 percent had no opinion. Support for the tests was shown by a majority of the survey respondents, including freshman Viviane Nunez, who said, “[Free tests] make it easier for people to get the tests, maybe convincing more people to take them, even if they only show minimal symptoms.”

Others, however, believed that offering free COVID tests would be ineffective, with one anonymous respondent saying, “This is how the government runs out of funding and goes deeper into debt,” and another insisting, “COVID is a bunch of crap and isn’t even that bad. The tests aren’t very effective.” Both of the statements by the second anonymous student are incorrect, as there have been almost six million COVID-related deaths worldwide, and COVID tests have a 96.2 percent accuracy rate when taken within three days of symptom onset, according to Healthline.

Half of those who had no opinion on the free tests provided no reasoning, but one anonymous respondent stated that his opinion would depend on Trump’s support, or lack thereof, of the tests, but freshman Ryan West had a different reason for his lack of opinion. “Free tests only help so much. If people can’t afford a test, but want one, then it would help, but if people simply don’t want to test, you can’t convince them even if it is free,” which provides reasoning for why someone might not purchase a test even if they were available.

Overall, the survey showed that Peet Junior High freshmen generally approve of the widespread distribution of the tests and their ability to catch more COVID cases before they spread. “It gives people who can’t afford them [an opportunity] to get tested. It probably also makes people more likely to actually get tested because they don’t have to pay for it,” said a final anonymous respondent. “If more people are getting tested, more COVID cases will be caught, and less people will go out and spread it.”

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