Amid a nationwide shortage of coronavirus tests, Bethenny Frankel is questioning why celebrities seem to have disproportionate access to testing.
“It’s kinda typical you know, just getting a reservation first, getting first-class, getting things before everybody else… You’re not supposed to be jumping the line to get a test before somebody who has asthma and is 75 years and clinging to their life.”
Certainly, celebrities in an at-risk age bracket like Tom Hanks and immunocompromised celebrities like Sarah Hyland are perfectly warranted for being hypervigilant of coronavirus symptoms and, in Hanks’ case, even necessitating testing and treatment. But other celebrities, ranging from Drake to Idris Elba to the entire roster of the Brooklyn Nets, seem to secure tests with ease despite ostensibly being low-risk and displaying no symptoms.
When Frankel herself became “very very sick” just a few short weeks ago, she displayed symptoms that were indicative of potential coronavirus infection. And, with her staggering net worth and Real Housewives of New York notoriety, Frankel could have easily been one of the privileged few to get an elusive coronavirus test. Instead, she refused to be tested. She said,
“I wasn’t sure what was going on but there’s no way I would have gone to take a test when I’m hearing that people are dying.”
Rather than using their platform to gain favorable healthcare treatment, celebrities should use their status to elevate relief efforts. Frankel’s own charity, BStrong, has already donated hundreds of thousands of masks, gowns, and medical kits to healthcare workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
Founded in 2017, BStrong is an ”initiative for people in crisis.” According to Frankel, the charity focuses on “taking a terrible situation and finding my way to help — without blame or politics, we simply get involved and do our part.” BStrong has provided aid for other disasters across the globe, including Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the Australia Bushfires. But Frankel admits the coronavirus pandemic is “the single greatest crisis we’ve ever had” and beyond anything she could have ever fathomed. And she could use all the help she could get.
Frankel told The Hollywood Reporter,
“This is another level of desperation. Everyone has anxiety, and everyone’s panicked. But me and my team? We’re not all just sitting around in quarantine watching the news waiting for more doom and gloom. We’re focused on solving the problem.”
She later wrote on her Twitter account,
“At night I attempt to read through the desperate pleas for protective equipment. It breaks my heart & know that we are working nonstop for you to get what you need. It is seemingly endless & daunting but we will make a difference here.”
Donations can be made at bethenny.com/bstrong.
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Michelle Vincent is a project manager and freelance writer. She enjoys traveling, is worried she won’t love her future children as much as she loves her dogs, and is actively recruiting podcast recommendations.