COVID testing TikTok mocking pattern is harmful, egocentric, medical doctors say
“You know how not to get COVID? Don’t get tested.”
That’s the premise of some viral TikTok videos mocking COVID-19 testing, in which users brag about not being tested despite symptoms – a message doctors call “extremely dangerous” and “selfish.”
In a video posted by @ilovedessert100, the user writes, “People out here say they miss their family (holiday) or (Christmas) because they have COVID…can’t test positive unless you get tested.” ” Similar videos have received hundreds of thousands of likes, as well as imitation videos and affirmative comments.
dr Eric Ascher, a primary care physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, says the news isn’t just spreading on social media and is giving him goosebumps.
“Being in the GP practice, I hear that from more patients than I care to hear. That if they don’t go to a test, they don’t have COVID, and that’s not how it works,” he says adding the message is “extremely dangerous.” “This is exactly what will take us so many steps back in the fight against COVID. I think with vaccinations, boosters and testing and the amount of testing that we have access to now, that actually prevents this disease from spreading any further.”
dr Robert Frenck, an infectious disease physician and director of the Vaccine Research Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, says this kind of thinking is “very selfish”.
“You don’t think about the harm you can do, not just to yourself but to others,” he explains. “Testing is not only meant to help learn about you, but also to help the community. So you’re not going to work and you’re going to be coughing and sneezing everywhere, and then you’ve passed the virus on to someone else. So it’s double.”
Some of these viral videos have users attempting to stop recording directly.
“I tried it, was in the hospital for a month at 20,” commented one user.
“My brother is back on (oxygen support) fighting for his life (because of) from Covid…may seem like a small number but to others it’s the biggest heartbreak,” wrote another.
Why it is imperative to get tested for COVID
Ascher urges anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms to get tested for COVID-19.
“You might as well take a test,” he says. “It’s just worth knowing.”
Symptoms can be cough, fever, chills – and now with the omicron variant also milder symptoms, especially in those who have been vaccinated and boosted. This can include a sore throat, mild cold-like symptoms, constipation, and fatigue.
“Any cold or flu-like symptom, this is COVID until the test proves otherwise,” says Ascher. “The fact that there are so many people ignoring the idea of getting tested so they don’t have to be quarantined could spread this disease blindly. “
Do you see a message like this? ‘Ignore it.’
“Absolutely ignore it,” says Ascher. “I’m not suggesting people start fighting on social media, but I would definitely report it to TikTok or Instagram or Facebook if possible.”
In addition to reporting misinformation about COVID-19, he urges viewers to “no way share it” and “no way believe it.”
“It’s so important that we have such abundance and access to testing to be tested when there are symptoms. And the turnaround time for these tests is so fast,” he says. “We have done a great job of being vigilant, masked and vaccinated over the past few years since the outbreak of COVID. We just have to hopefully continue this a little bit longer.”
Frenck encourages people to remember, “we’re in this together.”
“We should help each other in the community and reduce the risks not only to ourselves but to others as well,” he says.
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