Celebrities Clearly Have Ample Access to COVID-19 Tests. What About Everyone Else?

(L-R): Idris Elba attends the “Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw” Special Screening on July 23, 2019,  in London, England; Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets poses for a portrait during Media Day on September 27, 2019, in New York City.
(L-R): Idris Elba attends the “Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw” Special Screening on July 23, 2019, in London, England; Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets poses for a portrait during Media Day on September 27, 2019, in New York City.
Photo: Joe Maher (Getty Images), Al Bello (Getty Images)

Access to healthcare isn’t universal in this country, but access to the coronavirus certainly is.

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As I recently expressed when Idris Elba confirmed he had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus strain, realizing celebrities weren’t immune to contracting the virus was a sobering reminder. However, as we heard celebrity after celebrity confirm their test results, another curious question emerged.

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On Tuesday, the 47-year-old actor took to Periscope and gave a live update (via two videos) on his condition, including asking questions about his status, his testing process and why the myth of “black people can’t get coronavirus” was a dangerous ideology.

“There are so many stupid, ridiculous conspiracy theories about black people not being able to get it,” Idris exclaimed. “That’s dumb, stupid. That is the quickest way to get more black people killed. And I’m talking about the whole world. Wherever we are, please understand that you can get it...Just know you have to be as vigilant as every other race. This disease does not discriminate...As a black person who has contracted the virus, it needs to be said.”

Since we’re on the topic of discrimination, the frequent news of celebrities testing positive has highlighted the fact that the rich, famous and prominent have had easy access to tests. The virus doesn’t discriminate, but what about the path to healing? In Elba’s case, he was asymptomatic but was able to get tested early, while the average working-class American is faced with an arduous journey of multiple phone calls and lengthy wait times.

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As AP News notes, “the concerns over preferential treatment underscores a fundamental truth about inequalities baked into the American healthcare system—those with the financial means can often receive a different level of service.”

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In fact, one fan directly asked Elba about the discrepancy.

“We are supremely aware that not many people can get tested and feel very fortunate and lucky, but it is down to being on the job, “Elba noted, mentioning that being in the public eye means coming into contact with numerous people.

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Naturally, government officials had to answer those looming questions as well, since journalists began taking them to task.

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“Perhaps that’s been the story of life,” Trump said during a White House briefing, in response to a query regarding the inequality of test access. “That does happen on occasion. And I’ve noticed where some people have been tested fairly quickly.”

Gee, thanks.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio also took to Twitter to address such concerns, in response to the news that several NBA players had tested positive. Most recently, Kevin Durant became one of four Brooklyn Nets players that tested positive for COVID-19.

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“We wish them a speedy recovery,” the mayor tweeted. “But, with all due respect, an entire NBA team should NOT get tested for COVID-19 while there are critically ill patients waiting to be tested. Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick.”

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As for what everyday people have to look forward to, EverlyWell became the first U.S. company to announce that an at-home test has been developed and will be available starting March 23.

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Time reports:

People can order the Everlywell COVID-19 test on the company’s website, after first answering questions about their basic health, symptoms and risk factors for the coronavirus disease. A doctor still needs to prescribe the test, so telemedicine doctors from PWNHealth, a national network of physicians who prescribe diagnostic tests, then reviews these answers to determine if a person qualifies for testing, based on criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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DISCUSSION

detroitkidelo
kidelo *if you support racists, you're a racist too*

I don’t know where to begin.

I live in the Hamptons, but I am not one of the Summer People (“summer people, some are not”). I make a respectable living, but I have one home. I can’t “escape” to somewhere else if necessary. Year rounders out here have just enough resources during the off-season. One hospital. A good one, but one.

So when the people in NYC and environs who own second homes decided to decamp to the Hamptons, and even more people started to jump-start their summer rentals and Airbnb’s, they began to choke the resources out here. In fact, in the lightest possible case, 100% of the hospital beds on the East End of Long Island will be occupied immediately by Covid19 patients in a matter of a few weeks. (You can check out your situation here, but feel free to use East Hampton’s 11937 zip code if you don’t believe me. Or 11968 for Southampton.)

It’s not just the coronavirus tests the rich are hogging. It will be the resources. I’m seeing it in action already.