A notorious TikTok prankster, who goes by the name of Larz, has claimed to have been hospitalised with coronavirus (COVID-19) – a few days after he filmed himself licking a public toilet seat as part of the deplorable “Coronavirus Challenge”.
The “Coronavirus Challenge” is a ‘viral’ internet challenge which spans across many social media platforms, but is mainly confined to the ephemeral TikTok sphere, which encourages users to post footage of themselves licking various septic surfaces – ranging from grocery store produce to car door handles and toilet seats. The motive of the challenge appears to be a thirst for a short burst of social media attention and notoriety, a primal desire for attention in any form – a motive shared by many TikTok users.
Although we are currently in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic which has almost reached 700,000 cases worldwide, with the USA alone accounting for around 123,781 of these cases, the 21-year-old Californian personality decided to place his fifteen minutes (or rather, fifteen seconds) of fame before the advice of public health experts and engage in the “Coronavirus Challenge”.
A few days after his unsanitary, lavatory-licking antics, Larz posted a video of himself on Instagram from the confines of a hospital bed, claiming that he had since been hospitalised with coronavirus (COVID-19).
Larz also tweeted the picture of himself, but his Twitter account @gayshawnmendes has been suspended.
It is unclear whether the TikTok user was indeed hospitalized with COVID-19, or whether this was all part of an elaborate attention-seeking stunt (Larz went viral last year after licking tubs of ice cream and returning them to supermarket freezers). According to recent research, the virus COVID-19 can survive for up to 72 hours on hard, shiny surfaces, such as toilet seats, therefore it is probable that Larz was infected with the serious virus. Even if Larz was not infected with COVID-19 after his foolish stunt, a final caution must be sounded: do not lick lavatory seats in the midst of a global pandemic.
For some advice on how to live amidst a global pandemic, read this article on coping with coronavirus anxiety.
Featured image via: Larz/Twitter.