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The Lines To Get A COVID Test In NYC Are Wildly Long, So Apparently Someone Hired A TaskRabbit To Wait For Them

2020: The year that was mostly spent waiting in lines.

Due to a surge in coronavirus cases across the country, there's been an increase in people showing up at testing centers.

Nurphoto / Getty Images

A rapid test drive-thru line in Orlando, Florida.

Unfortunately, certain locations are struggling with time efficiency — including various sites in NYC where some people have waited over four hours to be seen.

New York City COVID test in and out in 4 hours and 50 minutes lickety split!

Getting a covid test in New York City is SO much harder than it should be. This is completely shameful @NYCMayor. Tests need to be free and available at every single CVS on every single corner of this city. Standing on line for 6 hours at citymd is not okay.

With lines this long, it comes as no surprise that someone has figured out a "hack" to avoid standing with a group of potentially contagious people while freezing your tits off for six hours. New York Times journalist Taylor Lorenz tweeted the following video, which has led to some mixed feelings in the Twittersphere:

The video was originally posted by TikTok user @thetipguynyc, whose account doesn't appear to exist anymore. It gives detailed instructions on how to hire someone to wait in line for you through TaskRabbit — an app I've only used to get help assembling my Ikea furniture because I'm a worthless bag of bones.

A screenshot from the TikTok, showing people waiting in line at a testing center on one side, and showing someone typing in "wait in line" on task rabbit on the other side.
TikTok / @thetipguynyc

Some people criticized this idea for potentially putting the Tasker in danger.

@TaylorLorenz So people are paying others to wait in line for a Covid test - with other people who could have Covid - so the Tasker gets Covid too?

Others were more angry at the failing system that led to this hack being born.

@TaylorLorenz My brother waited for 7 hours yesterday to get tested in NYC. The system isn’t working

And of course, the "that's capitalism, baby!" people weighed in too.

@TaylorLorenz Seems to me like someone just made almost $19/Hr for just waiting in line. This is not different than any other service people get paid to provide. I see nothing wrong with it and is great for the people looking for ways to make money.

Funny enough, Prince — the Tasker who was selected in the video — came across the tweet.

@plennt I turn on my taskrabbit for 5 minutes and this is what happens lol

When asked whether he actually waited in line for @thetipguynyc, Prince said that he ended up canceling his request.

@snmrrw @plennt He sent the request and said sorry don’t need help anymore and canceled the task. I never waited in line for anything

Prince told BuzzFeed that he's never waited in line for a Task, and he usually fulfills requests for computer help.

My theory is that the request was for the visuals of the video, and another Tasker was probably the one to wait in line for him. Out of curiosity, I looked up the "Waiting in Line" Taskers in my area to confirm whether this was indeed a thing. Sure enough, dozens of people appeared.

A list of "waiting in line" taskers
Daniella Emanuel / BuzzFeed / TaskRabbit

It's unclear how many people have actually used a Tasker to wait in line at a COVID testing site for them, but it's pretty disheartening that this is an option people feel they might need to turn to. Here's hoping access to testing improves nationwide, so no one has to be in an at-risk environment for prolonged periods of time.

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