Logan Airport's Longest Line Isn't at Security, It's at the COVID Test Station

As the holiday travel crush gets underway and people look to make sure they're not infected, tests are hard to come by around Boston

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The longest line at Boston's Logan International Airport is not at the TSA checkpoint or the check-in counter. It's at the COVID test station.

If you're getting on an international flight, you need to have tested first, and the wait on the line, without an appointment, was about 4 hours Wednesday -- one of the busiest days for travel of the year.



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"If people think COVID is over, there's one place where people are really careful -- the airports," said Dr. Sugata Bhattacharjae, who flew in from India.

In addition to a negative COVID test, masks are required as well.

The Food and Drug Administration approved an emergency use authorization for the first oral antiviral treatment of COVID-19.

Dave Scott, who was traveling with his three children, said he has some concerns about COVID.

"Of course. It seems like omicron is very contagious so we're– we've got serious masks and the kids are double masked, but I haven't seen my 86-year-old father in two years, so we decided we had to go," Scott said.

Traveling for the holidays presented a slew of challenges, like Anita Zean, who arrived from Africa.

"It was a lot of security checkpoints and different procedures, COVID screening and everything," she said.

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says with the available tools to help prevent and fight COVID-19, "there really is no need to panic."

But the desire for a normal holiday season has travelers willing to do whatever it takes.

"I feel comfortable," said Ricky, who's just back from the west coast. "I'm already vaccinated, so I'm hoping it does its stuff. It's something that, if we all take our precautions, it should be alright."

But some are not taking precautions, like Marcus Baek, who lives in Orlando.

"I moved down 8 months ago. It's a very stark difference between Boston and Orlando. No one in Orlando wears masks and I live there and I've never gotten corona. I feel pretty comfortable," he said.

As busy as it was Wednesday, the TSA said travel will be busier on Thursday and on Jan. 3.

For travelers, and everyone else, looking for a COVID test in Boston itself, it's may take a while. At-home testing kits are the most popular item in may stores.

CVS and Walgreens are limiting the number of kits that people can buy when they find them, as are online retailers like Amazon.

At Bird's Hill Pharmacy in Needham, the supply was gone on Wednesday

"Unfortunately, it's not in time for the holidays and we have no faith they're going to come next week, either," said Andrew Stein, who works at the store.

For those who can get them, at-home tests are effective tools in the fight against COVID, especially as friends, family and loved ones prepare to celebrate the holidays this weekend, Mass. General Hospital infectious disease Dr. Julie Levison said.

"It does a little bit better when people have symptoms, but it still works quite well when people do not have symptoms. It's fast, it takes about 10-15 minutes," she said, noting that they work best when the test is repeated.

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