A New York City-based influencer has been criticised for using “personal connections” to get a Covid-19 test. Now, to make matters worse, she's travelled with her family to a fancy rental home 100 miles away in the Hamptons.
Arielle Charnas, who has 1.3 million Instagram followers, seems to have completely ignored the advice for a 14-day self-quarantine after she tested positive for the virus.
Charmas sparked outrage in mid-March when she revealed that she'd called in a favour from a doctor friend to get a Covid-19 test.
Some of Charmas’s followers suggested that she should get tested for the coronavirus after she described her symptoms on Instagram. She said she was resistant to do this because she admittedly didn’t meet the qualifications to do so. But she tagged a friend (Dr Jake Deutsch, who reportedly runs the Cure Urgent Care facility on the Upper West Side) and he offered to test her for the coronavirus and influenza.
People have been understandably annoyed that influencers, politicians and celebrities seem to be getting tests before everyone else when there's a national shortage of tests. So Charmas openly admitting she’d used a personal connection to get a test really riled people, particularly seeing as she’s young and currently only the most at-risk groups (such as the elderly) are being tested.
Revealing her diagnosis on Instagram, she wrote:
I wanted to give you all a health update.
This morning, I learned that I tested positive for COVID-19.
While the virus seems to be everywhere that you turn, it's meaning and importance completely changes when it affects you personally.
Now that I've officially tested positive, here is my plan per the recommendation of my doctors: Continue to quarantine/self-isolate.
But now she’s annoyed people even more by… not following this advice.
After revealing that she’d tested positive for the virus, Charnas didn't self-isolate for the recommended 14 days. Instead, eight days later she left her apartment with her family to travel about 100 miles to stay in a rental house in the luxury Hamptons area. What if the family stopped at the gas station or used a toilet along the way? And do the people of the Hamptons really have to be exposed to coronavirus germs from the Covid-19 capital city of America?
Charnas appears to have ignored the strict lockdown guidelines that most New Yorkers who don’t have symptoms have been instructed to follow. Right now Governor Cuomo’s guidelines advise against all travel that isn’t “essential”. And a trip to the seaside hardly seems to be essential, does it?
The backlash has been strong.
In a Twitter thread, New York City-based writer Sophie Ross called Charnas out, slamming her for “dangerous and bizarre behavior”. Ross wrote: 'Arielle was accused of using her connections to get a COVID test and “cut the line” even tho her symptoms were mild and she’s not high-risk. There was major backlash for this”
Charmas did address people who are upset that she managed to get a test so quickly, but she kinda mistook the anger as being about her ability to access healthcare when so many Americans are uninsured. That’s definitely an important issue, but in this case it’s more about the fact that she used an elite connection to get a test that’s still being rationed for the general public and reserved for the most vulnerable.
I realize that there are many individuals, both in New York City, and nationwide, who do not have the ability to receive immediate medical care at the first sign of sickness, and access to care is #1 priority in a time like this.
She also strongly denied rumours that she's faking the whole thing, saying she would "never lie" about having coronavirus.
Meanwhile, there continues to be a shortage of tests in the US, despite the World Health Organisation saying the best approach is to “test, test, test”. Countries such as South Korea and Japan, who have tested millions of people, have seen encouraging results.
It doesn’t look like influencers are going to start behaving any better in this pandemic, either. So far one man has been arrested for licking items in Walmart and another contracting coronavirus after licking a toilet.