In June, the US saw a decline both COVID-19 cases and in COVID-19 testing in hospitals. GlobalData observed a significant decline in COVID-19 testing in hospitals in the US for both nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) and antigen tests. It is possible that COVID-19 testing may have shifted to at-home, over-the-counter antigen testing. However, on June 1, Abbott lowered its full-year 2021 guidance as it reported a sharp decline in demand for COVID-19 tests, particularly rapid tests. GlobalData reports Abbott as the largest market player in the US for COVID-19 tests.
Currently the CDC reports that 48.7% of the total population has been fully vaccinated; therefore, a significant decrease in new cases would be expected, and COVID-19 testing would likewise decrease. However, widespread testing remains an absolute necessity, especially now that the delta variant, the COVID-19 variant first identified in India that is 60% more contagious than the original strain, has become the dominant COVID-19 strain in the US. Although COVID-19 infection has dropped among the vaccinated, the unvaccinated remain at high risk. According to the Washington Post, case rates and death rates among the unvaccinated remain high, with the rate of COVID-19 cases among the unvaccinated being 69% higher than the standard national rates, though COVID-19 cases are declining in general.
GlobalData expects that although the number of COVID-19 tests performed declined in the US in the first half of 2021, the combination of the delta variant as the major COVID-19 strain, the plateau of the vaccination rate, and new cases on the rise may result in an uptick of COVID-19 testing once more.