There’s a chance that your COVID-19 diagnostic test could return a false-negative result. This means that the test didn’t detect the virus, even though you actually are infected with it. You risk unknowingly spreading the virus to others if you don’t take proper precautions, such as following social distancing guidelines and wearing a face mask when appropriate. There’s also a chance that a COVID-19 rapid antigen test can produce false-positive results — indicating an infection when actually there isn’t one — if instructions aren’t carefully followed.
The risk of false-negative or false-positive test results depends on the type and sensitivity of the COVID-19 diagnostic test, thoroughness of the sample collection, and accuracy of the lab analysis.
Be wary of any offers for at-home COVID-19 tests that the FDA has not cleared for use — they often give inaccurate results.