NFB on Inaccessibility of At-Home Covid Tests

Screenshot of letter from the NFB to President Biden (full text available via link in post)

Throughout the pandemic, many forms of Covid testing have been inaccessible to blind people, from drive-through testing sites to home tests that rely on visual instructions and displays. Some apps, such as Be My Eyes (founded by visually-impaired inventor Hans Jørgen Wiberg) have allowed blind people to video-call sighted people for assistance with visual tasks such as reading rapid test results. Frustrated by the slowness and potential Covid exposure of in-person testing sites, Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) wrote to President Biden on January 3, 2022 on behalf of the thousands of NFB members to demand that the free Covid tests provided by the federal government include versions accessible to blind people. Riccobono followed up with the FDA commissioner on February 4 demanding that kit instructions on the FDA site be posted as accessible PDFs. In response, in June the USPS temporarily provided “more-accessible” Covid tests that still required a smartphone and navigating the Ellume app (not created for blind people) to hear audio instructions and results. —Mara Mills