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Airport studies demonstrate effectiveness of rapid COVID-19 antigen testing

An airport gate is shown with very few passengers due to fear of contracting COVID-19.

Airports are perhaps the most ideal settings for rapid antigen testing. Traveling during the best of times can be an uneasy experience, but during the pandemic everyone is on high alert. Is that a tickle in my throat?  Am I sick?  Is the person beside me sick?  Can I trust that every passenger on this plane is COVID free?  What about the flight attendants?  And the questions go on. 

Different tests, different purposes

A graph comparing rapid antigen testing and PCR testing for probability of detecting SARS-COV-2 based on viral load across time since exposure. A marker showing the onset of symptoms occurs before both tests reach maximum probability of detection.
Antigen tests detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus and can provide results within 15 minutes. They are most effective when viral loads are the highest, which is the 7-10 days when the virus is most likely to be transmitted. In other words, antigen tests are best used to answer the question “Am I contagious?”