OPINION: The Story of Life: Imbalance in COVID-19 Testing


Jeremy Davis

Why has it been so easy for celebrities to get access to COVID-19 tests? Photo courtesy of Pexels.com

As COVID-19 continues to take hold of the United States, many people are wondering if they should get tested for the virus.

Currently there seems to be a shortage of testing supplies in the United States, but not for celebrities, it seems.

According to John Hopkins Medicine, in an article reviewed by Doctor Lisa Maragakis, some areas in the U.S. are experiencing delays in getting tests for coronavirus. The test is also very time consuming and there are a set of guidelines for who gets tested. Currently, it seems they are more focused on those who are living with health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease and immunosuppressive therapy. If these are the guidelines, why are celebrities the first to get tested? Do they get to jump to the front of the line?

Many Americans are wondering why it seems only people in the key echelon in media are being tested. Some celebrities, like Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, were in Australia where testing for the coronavirus is easier to get. But this still doesn’t explain how other celebrities are getting treated so quickly. Some news sites such as the Guardian are saying that the wealthy and powerful were hoping the general public didn’t notice the disparity and will be content “waiting it out.”

In a press conference, President Donald Trump was asked by NBC’s Peter Alexander why it seemed non-symptomatic celebrities can get tests while the rest of the population are left in the dark. President Trump responded by saying “Perhaps that’s the story of life.”

According to Insider on March 11, Oklahoma used 60% percent of its daily testing capacity on NBA players and team staff after a member of the Utah Jazz was tested positive. Only one of the 58 tested positive. This was done so quickly due to the NBA’s rules and regulations that allow for rapid identification of any potential medical issues, but that doesn’t explain why so many people were tested even though they didn’t have any symptoms.

I think it is odd that several key people in the media are getting the ability to get tested while others are still waiting, but there are a couple reasons why I think this is happening. Take any college student and ask yourself where they go. They probably just go to school, work and maybe to see friends. Celebrities, however, travel back and forth for appearances and projects they are working on. They travel far more than the everyday American, and it is much more likely for frequent travelers to get the coronavirus.

I think there is imbalance in who is getting tested, but there isn’t a whole lot anyone can do about this. The everyday American should have the ability to go and get tested, but our country’s current medical situation is making it hard for people to get tested.

In a Vice article written by Kate Dries, they reached out to several celebrities who announced that they were able to get tested. Several celebrities preferred not to tell where they got tested, while others said some urgent care facilities have test kits.

If you don’t have any health conditions you will be told to just stay home and self-quarantine. If you have not traveled or been with someone who has coronavirus, they will not test you. Currently, hospitals are filling up with patients and maybe it’s best to just stay out of the way. If you were to try to get tested for coronavirus there is a strong possibility you could get it from going to the hospital. Just staying home will keep you safer.

As much as I would like to get tested to make sure I am healthy, I also am scared to get tested because what if I am fine and then I go and get sick. I would rather just stay home and only go out when I absolutely need to. I think we will be alright in a couple of months, but we must take the situation seriously. There’s a reason they limited the number of people who can be together.