Sick Stars

Celebrities are Getting Tested, but What About the Rest of us?


How do celebrities have access to COVID-19 testing (photo courtesy of The New York Post)?

Ellie Coppock, Editor-in-Chief

The on-going Coronavirus Pandemic has effected many people around the world, including public figures. Over the past couple weeks, many celebrities, athletes, and government officials have been tested for the Coronavirus (COVID-19). But, how are celebrities able to get tested when many don’t have access to testing?

Many of the celebrities tested positive. According to Today, these include actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, Prince Charles, TV Host Andy Cohen, Actor Idris Elba, NBA player Kevin Durant and Senator Rand Paul, among many others. According to Hollywood Life, some celebrities have tested negative. These include rapper Drake, reality TV star Kris Jenner, and President Donald Trump. With all of these important people being tested, many are confused by the lack of available testing for the general public.

According to NBC News, rapper Cardi B posted a rant video on her Instagram stating that celebrities are confusing the public on the virus and the methods of testing. She stated, “The general public, people that work regular jobs, people that get regular paychecks, the middle class, the poor … they’re not getting treated like celebrities.” Many are noticing how many celebrities are able to get tested without symptoms while people in the general public who do have symptoms don’t have access to testing

According to CNN, people who have recently traveled to a COVID-19 hotspot and people who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive have priority for testing. Many people who have the major symptoms of COVID-19 (according to CDC, fever, cough, shortness of breath) are unable to get tested if they don’t fit the previous criteria. Overall, government officials have emphasized that there is a shortage of tests and not everyone that wants a test will get one. They have also reassured the public that as more tests become available, the guidelines will become less harsh. Although healthcare professionals and government officials have discouraged people without symptoms from getting tested, many celebrities have still managed to do so.

According to Time, the COVID-19 test is supposed to be free for everyone. Although the test is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, other government plans, and private insurance providers, there could still be many hidden fees. The new law that requires free testing does not prohibit being charged if you go to an out-of-network provider. The recent corporation shutdowns might result in many people losing their insurance coverage if it is provided through their employer.

It is clear that celebrities are using their resources and power to cheat the system. Instead of using their influence to positively impact the world in the face of extreme adversity, celebrities and the wealthy have shown that they only think of themselves. The lack of awareness during a time of global suffering shows the current mindset of people in power.

The U.S. seriously lags behind other developed countries in wide-spread testing. As of March 23, South Korea has conducted approximately 300,000 tests. The U.S. does not have a current official testing statistic, but the number is estimated to be around 100,000. South Korea’s population is six times smaller than the population of the U.S.