A Viral Tweet Has Revealed How You Can Buy False Negative Covid Test Results In America

And according to experts, it’s not just a US problem.

Covid test tubes

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

A woman in Miami, Florida has gone viral after exposing the illegal market of false negative Covid testing in the US. Posting on Twitter this week, Savanna Neb said she was told ‘tons of people’ in the US are paying for fake negative tests in order not to quarantine. And it’s not just a US problem, UK scientists have been warning of this rise in illegal activity for months.

‘I just moved to Miami and have to get a COVID test/quarantine for 2 weeks before school, which is fine,’ Neb tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. ‘I was asking where the best places to get tested were and one of them SERIOUSLY said “Oh you can pay for a fake negative test & you wouldn’t have to quarantine. Tons of people do it.”’

Receiving near over 200,000 shares and likes, Neb detailed her disbelief at the suggestion given that Florida is a high risk area for Covid-19 with over 451,000 confirmed cases and over 6,300 deaths. Just two weeks ago, reports surfaced that Miami hospitals were at 95% capacity because of the pandemic.

However, given that some companies and institutions require negative tests results for people to return to work or school it is perhaps not surprising that an illegal market for false negative results has grown. In fact, UK scientists warned of the possibility here months ago.

Upon advising the government about the easing of lockdown and the potential to only allow employees to return to work if they had a positive antibody test (which are different to Covid-19 tests - antibody tests show whether you have ever had Covid-19 whereas Covid-19 tests show if you have it presently), the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) warned of criminal ‘negative behavioural responses’ if not handled well.

As part of a tranche of official documents released in April this year, Sage warned that employers might discriminate against staff on the basis of their antibody tests and that some workers might ‘game’ the system and seek fake test results in order to return to work. With 600,000 jobs lost because of the pandemic and 2.8million people claiming work-related benefits (up 126%) in May it doesn’t seem a far stretch that desperate people struggling to survive might make desperate choices.

In Bangladesh, fake Covid-19 test results at legitimate health organisations have also been a major talking point. Earlier this month, one hospital owner was detained by police after allegations that clinics in Uttara and Mirpur were issuing negative Covid-19 results without testing patients. According to spokesperson Colonel Ashique Billah, ‘Hospitals carried out 10,500 coronavirus tests, out of which 4,200 were genuine and the rest, 6,300 test reports, were given without conducting tests’. Over a dozen people were arrested.

It had global implications, with Italy suspending flights from Bangladesh to Rome after several passengers arrived from Dhaka and tested positive for the virus despite some carrying negative Covid-19 test certificates from Bangladesh, according to Shakirul Islam of the migrants rights group OKUP.

Ultimately, it seems that Sage was right to warn about the rising illegal market for false tests results. In the UK, companies are not required to test staff before they return to work but they are encouraged to take part in helping the NHS Test and Trace service by making their workplace Covid-secure, requesting self-isolation if workers are asked to do so and supporting them in that case.

However, part of this is encouraging staff to get tested using the NHS Test and Trace service should they show symptoms, which if they test positive would mean the worker would have to self-isolate. The support aspect of government guidance is vital then, financially more than anything else, in order to put an end to desperate acts seemingly being committed all over the world.

Read More:

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Coronavirus: Health Workers On The NHS Frontline Now To Be Tested

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