You shouldn’t lick the rim of a public toilet bowl. You shouldn’t lick any toilet bowl.
Which is to say: You shouldn’t take the Coronavirus Challenge.
There have been many stupid but popular internet “challenges” of late — such as the Cereal Challenge, which involves the challenge-taker eating breakfast cereal out of another person’s mouth.
Now it appears there’s the Coronavirus Challenge. With the deadly coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, we can all hope that this internet user-participation craze proves to be the first one that definitively falls flat.
Britain’s Metro newspaper on Tuesday reported that an “internet influencer,” which the paper refused to name, had recently launched the stunt on the video platform TikTok “by licking what seems to be an airplane toilet seat while a man sings ‘It’s corona time’ in the background.”
The toilet licker told reporters Harrison Jones and Eleanor Lees: “I was tired of that b—h corona getting more publicity than ME. I’m the real celebrity.”
And fools rushed in. Images popped up on TikTok of people licking car-door handles and London subway handlebars.
One California man posted video in which he exuberantly licks a public toilet and then mumbles, “Coronavirus challenge.” A few days later, The Independent reports, the man claimed he was in a hospital and had tested positive for coronavirus.
It’s not yet clear if this internet challenge has spread beyond a handful of wannabe internet influencers. But this much should go without saying: Don’t lick a toilet. Don’t take the Coronavirus Challenge. Health experts believe the coronavirus can live on surfaces — such as toilet bowls and door handles — for hours or even days.
There have been nearly 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, and more than 22,000 people of all ages have died from Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus. The outbreak is spreading rapidly in the U.S. More than 200 Covid-19 deaths were reported in the U.S. on Wednesday.
— Douglas Perry