People are asking how celebrities all seem to be getting coronavirus tests so quickly

Moya Lothian-McLean@moya_lm
Thursday 19 March 2020 09:30
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The general public would be forgiven if probing questions weren’t top of the agenda right now.

The whole “global pandemic” is taking up a substantial amount of brain space.

But a question has arisen among the great unwashed in the US and the UK as more high-profile people are revealing whether they have Covid-19 or not.

How are all the celebrities getting tests so quickly?

The dire lack of available tests has been a source of frustration for citizens in the UK and the US particularly.

Boris Johnson has announced the government intends to test up 25,000 people a day – and only if they’re hospitalised and showing symptoms.

Funnily enough, this has led people to criticise the plan as coronavirus can still very much be spread by those who are asymptomatic

In Iceland, over half the people who tested positive for Covid-19 are asymptomatic.

It also means people might be self-isolating who have no need to (not to be confused with social distancing, which everyone should be doing if they’re able to).

Plus, an investigation by Wired recently found that actually, Britain is more than capable of scaling up testing… they just haven’t.

Meanwhile in the US, there’s a shortage of coronavirus tests (sound familiar?).

At the moment, they’re capable of testing around 8,200 people a day.

This is for a population of 330 million.

In comparison, South Korea has a population of 51 million and yet can administer 20,000 tests a day.

Basically, they’re falling short.

So it’s in this climate that people are starting to question how much of a coincidence it might be that the rich and famous are getting access to tests – especially when they have no symptoms.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio even called out the Brooklyn Nets basketball team for all getting tested.

And when actor Idris Elba announced he had tested positive for the virus, despite being asymptomatic, there were more questions.

Even doctors are highlighting the issue as one of social inequity.

Last week The Guardian revealed Harley Street clinics – the last word in "elite" – were offering tests for £395 a pop and other private services have been hawking them for £295.

So it seems that the tests can be bought by some, but not the rest of us. Hmm.

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