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Inside Beat

Coronavirus highlights wealth disparities, elite gets tested first

Idris Elba is one of the wealthier individuals in our society that got tested for coronavirus without having any symptoms of the virus.  – Photo by Photo by Wikimedia | The Daily Targum

The global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and its effects around the world demonstrate the influence money has on our society. The outbreak of COVID-19 came just in time for seasonal flu and allergy season. It’s nerve-wracking deciding whether a sore throat comes from a regular common cold or if you’ve come in contact with an affected person. 

What makes things worse is that citizens aren’t being tested as much as they should. The number of COVID-19 cases could be almost double the amount statistics report due to the lack of mass testing in the United States.

If you want to get tested quicker it seems like you’ll need a minimum of a $2.5 million net worth. At least that's how much American basketball player Donovan Mitchell is estimated to have. Mitchell was randomly tested after showing no symptoms and tested positive for the virus. 

This is the same for actor Idris Elba who said he got a COVID-19 test after someone he was near tested positive. It is obvious to assume that if one marital partner contracted the virus then the other one would too. We saw this through Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, earlier this month. Social media platforms went crazy over the news of Elba’s wife, Sabrina Dhowre Elba getting tested for the virus and, to no surprise, testing positive. We are distributing tests like hotcakes to people who hold higher social standing. 

Tim Herrera from The New York Times wrote an article about how the healthcare system disappointed him when he suspected he might have contracted the coronavirus. Herrera woke up one morning with a cough and the chills. His fever continued to rise throughout the day and by the time Herrera called medical officials, his temperature was at 100.2 degrees. 

He first contacted his primary care physician who took down his symptoms and told him to Google "Urgent Care N.Y.C." and CityMD to schedule a test. CityMD was not giving tests and had no referral for who was. After spending hours on hold with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NYC Health + Hospitals, Herrera spoke to a woman who asked for his symptoms and demographic and told him to isolate for 14 days. 

It was a miracle that Herrera was later called down to a hospital on the lower east side in Manhattan to receive a test. To this day he doesn’t know how he was able to receive a test but he knows plenty of others with his same symptoms who haven’t been able to get tested.

Herrera’s story seems like a stroke of luck that is not possible for everyone. It ignores the cases of average middle-class workers who struggle to receive tests. These are our gas station workers, teachers or Starbucks barista that we are neglecting who are very essential to running our economy smoothly. 

People who check off all boxes of COVID-19 symptoms should be the healthcare systems' top priority. If celebrities who showed no symptoms followed the self-isolation rules within 14 days they would have been less of a threat to society without suffering any of the severe symptoms. Patients who show symptoms need to be tested so they can be properly medicated instead of taking over the counter medication that could make their symptoms worse. 

It is sad to see that in a situation that is so life or death, we are still making social class a top priority. The United States needs to conduct more tests for people who aren’t just celebrities, because it’s a human right. This pandemic will be written down in history for generations after to read about and study. We can not show future generations that this is the right way to handle social health crises. 

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