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COVID-19 test

Do the Privileged Get Coronavirus Tested While the Poor Do Not?

Gettyimages | jarun011
By Robert Safir

Cardi B used her Instagram account calling out the privileged getting tested for coronavirus while the poor and less privileged to not. Are there celebrities who are getting special treatment, even when they don't have symptoms?

When she said the “poor,” she was including workers, people without insurance, and even the middle class, that don’t get special privileges. She added, “In California alone, Governor Gavin Newsom stated on Tuesday that half of the confirmed cases in the state are ages 18-49.”

The high profile, rich and famous people – these folks not only get tested, but they often get their results the next day.

Going to the Front of the Line

People lined up
Gettyimages | GlobalStock

Health care workers and even sick people unable to get a diagnosis - are having trouble because testing and testing kits are in short supply all over the country. Not only do some celebrities get tests without showing symptoms, but some refuse to say how they were able to obtain the test in the first place.

Celebrities, politicians, and professional athletes seem to go to the front of the line. This preferential treatment exposes a truth about our health care system, that those that are financially well of can receive a different level of medical treatment and service. Coincidentally, this is one of the themes of presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders

A Team at a Time

Brooklyn Nets team, Kevin Durant
Gettyimages | Harry How

Recently, the Brooklyn Nets basketball team returned from a game against the Golden State Warriors and announced that the entire team was tested for coronavirus. The following day they announced that four players were positive. One of the team members was All-Star Kevin Durant.

People have argued that an entire basketball team should not be tested when while there are critically ill patients waiting in line for testing. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio took to twitter and said, “Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick.”

Politicians Line Up

House of Representatives session
Gettyimages | jetcityimage

Politicians have been tested without anything standing in their way. Several senators and over ten house members, including Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, and Rep. Matt Gaetz were all tested and the results were negative. Before the testing, they did take measures to self-quarantine.

Earlier this month, the FDA announced that diagnostic labs such as Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, would be able to start using new COVID-19 tests with less regulations and red tape. But then the question becomes: who will have access to these new tests? When? And for what cost?

If it means that the well-to-do can be more thoroughly tested with quicker results, then we haven’t solved any problems related to socio-economic inequities in the testing process.

View from the White House

The White House
Gettyimages | jmoor17

The debate has reached the White House, when at a recent press conference President Trump was asked whether or not “the well-connected go to the front of the line.”

Peter Alexander from NBC asked the president "How are non-symptomatic professional athletes getting tests while others are waiting in line and can't get them?" Do the well-connected go to the front of the line? ... Should that happen?"

"No, I wouldn't say so. But perhaps that's been the story of life," Trump answered. "That does happen on occasion. And I've noticed where some people have been tested fairly quickly."

Antiquated System

Millions of people
Gettyimages | Ayhan Altun

Trump followed up with the statement “…[this] was a system that was never meant to take care of the kind of quantity, the number of people that we're talking about — millions and millions of people."

Of course, this doesn’t answer the question at all. After all, President Trump himself is in the privileged, upper class that we’re talking about.

There really is no profound conclusion here, except that this problem is a microcosm of the larger problems affecting class and race in the United States. One can only hope that no one needlessly dies because testing kits and labs were unavailable to them.

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