Coronavirus tests: Prince Charles and other celebrities still getting them but not Kathy Griffin and most everyone else

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Comedian Kathy Griffin offered herself up as evidence that President Donald Trump is “lying” after he recently gloated about the number of coronavirus tests the United States has carried out.

Griffin said on Instagram Wednesday that she had been denied a test, even though she’s in “a COVID-19 isolation ward in a major hospital,” suffering from “unbearably painful symptoms.”

If Griffin doesn’t get her test, that would make her rare in celebrity world. Just consider Prince Charles, or other rich and famous people including Kris Jenner, Idris Elba, Tom Hanks and Kevin Durant. They reportedly haven’t had trouble getting tests. Yes, cue the tasteless jokes about an ailing Griffin truly being on “the D-list.”

Charles’ announcement Wednesday that he tested positive for coronavirus has once again spotlighted concerns that celebrities, politicians, social media influencers and even entire NBA teams have gotten access to scarce tests ahead of everyone else, including people who are seriously ill and doctors and nurses who are on the front lines of treating COVID-19 patients.

“The testing roll-out for the disease in the United States and numerous other countries has been woefully slow and almost entirely inept,” Vice reported. “(However) the rich and famous seem to be having an entirely different experience than everyone else.”

A tweet by a Scotland-based BBC correspondent, addressing how Charles and his wife Camilla are self-isolating at the royal family’s Balmoral estate, prompted a flurry of angry questions about whether the couple were tested outside of protocol established by Scotland’s National Health Service.

Charles, 71, received the test despite having only mild symptoms, while the NHS Scotland website said that “generally” people will only be tested that if they have “a serious illness that requires admission to hospital.” Charles is said to otherwise be in good health; Camilla, 72, tested negative.

Another BBC report said that coronavirus tests are still not being made routinely available for NHS workers, despite the government describing such testing as a “priority.”

One self-described NHS doctor decried Charles’ access to a test as “unjustifiable breach” of protocol.

“We as NHS doctors are being refused testing and have numerous colleagues self isolating. We are then unable to work and help people,” the physician tweeted. “Does this man truly merit testing when essential staff are being denied?”

Another person tweeted it was “truly disgusting” that Charles and Camilla were tested but essential NHS workers are not, while a third said he had engaged in “unforgiveable behaviour” like “a plague-carrying rat” by traveling to his family’s holiday retreat 400 miles from home.

Yet another tweeted that Charles and Camilla “hardly” meet the definition of “essential worker,” though perhaps he and the U.K. government thought he qualifies for that distinction, given that he’ll become head of state when he ascends to the throne.

At this point it is not known when or from whom Prince Charles contracted the virus. On March 9, Charles and Camilla mingled with Queen Elizabeth, Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey.

On March 10, Charles met with Prince Albert of Monaco, who later tested positive for coronavirus. Charles saw the queen, 93, briefly on March 12. Medical experts told The Sun that they don’t believe Charles would have become contagious until March 13. He began to feel sick over the weekend while at his estate in the English countryside, then flew to Scotland on Sunday. Six members of his staff are reportedly self-isolating with him at Balmoral.

No doubt, concerns that A-listers like Charles are getting access to tests will continue to grow until tests are widely available in the U.K., United States and other countries.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom reported some good news on the state’s testing front Wednesday: Testing has increased sharply to 66,800, more than double the figures reported a day earlier. However, Newsom said, “66,000 is not enough tests.”

As of Wednesday night, Kathy Griffin could certainly attest to the fact that there are not “enough tests” in California. But again, she’s an outlier among the rich and famous, according to Vice, the New York Times and other publications.

“Some of these high-profile people say they are feeling ill and had good reason to be tested,” the New York Times reported. “Others argue that those who were found to be infected and then isolated themselves provided a good example to the public.”

But celebrity “good examples” also are being “cagey” about how they are getting access to tests, Vice reported, with the New York Times adding that such cases “have provoked accusations of elitism and preferential treatment.”

The New York Times and Reuters reported that some A-listers in Hollywood and New York may get access through membership-only medical concierge services that have long enabled them to get preferential treatment at major medical centers.

Eight NBA teams, including the New Jersey Nets, somehow managed to obtain tests for their entire rosters, showing that Kevin Durant and three other Nets players had tested positive.

The Nets’ ability to test its entire team earned a rebuke from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We wish them a speedy recovery,” de Blasio said. “But, with all due respect, an entire NBA team should NOT get tested for COVID-19 while there are critically ill patients waiting to be tested. Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick.”

Bob Myers, the president of basketball operations for the Golden State Warriors, Durant’s former team, agreed that it would be wrong for players to seek special access.

“In California, my understanding is that these tests are not readily available, and people who don’t have symptoms shouldn’t be doing that,” Myers said. “We’re not treating ourselves any differently than anyone else — I think that’s the right thing to do.”

Meanwhile, other celebrities are not being forthright about their personal testing access. Vice contacted more than 25 celebrities and sports teams who had earlier publicized their test results and the steps they were taking to self-isolate and keep other people safe.

Most did not respond to requests for comment about how they got tested, including TV host Andy Cohen and actress Rachel Mathews, who publicly complained about how difficult it was to find tests. Others suddenly demanded privacy, even after not being so private about their health days earlier.

For example, Heidi Klum took to Instagram to post a dramatic photo of herself, looking contemplative while gazing at her musician husband, Tom Kaulitz, through a glass window. “To be safe, we are staying apart until we get the results of our coronavirus tests (that we were finally able to get today) back,” Klum wrote.

But when Vice contacted Klum about how she and and her husband got their tests, a representative for the couple said, “We are not commenting on Heidi’s health.”

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson became the face of the pandemic’s widening reach when they revealed their COVID-19 diagnoses earlier this month. They also did not respond to a Vice inquiry about how they were tested. However, the couple were in Australia when they came down with mild cold and flu-like symptoms, and the New York Times reported that testing in the country has been free and more widely available than in the United States.


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