Surprise! People Are Making Terrible TikToks About Coronavirus

From deeply irresponsible misinformation to flagrantly racist skits, TikTokers are having a field day.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
Surprise! People Are Making Terrible TikToks About Coronavirus
Image via Shutterstock

More than 80,000 people have contracted coronavirus as it's spread through China and into South Korea, Iran, Brazil, several countries in Europe, and beyond, with confirmed cases on every continent except Antarctica. It's also spread to…… TikTok, where teens and teens trapped in slightly older people's bodies are having a goddamn field day joking about a pandemic that's claimed nearly 3,000 lives.


CoronaTokers, a.k.a. Fluencers, a.k.a. CoronaVirals—there's a good portmanteau in here somewhere—are making videos that range from harmless, legitimately funny bits, to deeply irresponsible pieces of misinformation, to flagrantly racist skits. Spend a few minutes (or hours, or days—this app is a vortex) perusing #coronavirus, and you'll find that a set of patterns begin to emerge.

A number of folks are claiming they've actually contracted the illness, which, for the most part, seems totally made-up:

Look closely, and you'll notice that this girl's "hospital gown" is actually just a trash bag, meaning that, no, she has not been diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease. But some of these people… seem like they're actually serious?

On the other end of the spectrum are folks trying to get a laugh, and a shot at viral fame, out of an epidemic that is threatening to bring the global economy to a grinding halt—hahaha! Most of these bits are mediocre at best:

The worst of them are fully racist, leaning on xenophobic tropes that have spread like wildfire since the epidemic began:

And yet—as reluctant as I am to admit it—some of these are… actually kind of good. This kid, for example, is crushing it:

There's just something inherently hilarious about dancing in a hospital. Sorry!

This is also golden:

As the virus continues to spread—with the CDC announcing that it's not a matter of if, but when it will break out in the US—we're only going to see more of these infuriatingly dumb and not-so-infuriatingly-dumb videos crop up on TikTok. Just a matter of time until somebody starts the Coronavirus Challenge, which definitely won't be dangerous, problematic, or both!

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