Social media challenge has teens trying to get COVID-19

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) — A new social media challenge could have your child licking different public objects to possibly get the coronavirus.

The Coronavirus Challenge spreading on the social media platform TikTok has children doing acts that could lead to them contracting the virus.

The "Coronavirus Challenge" is circulating on the social media platform TikTok and has led users to put their tongue on public toilets, doorknobs, grocery store carts and more.

"I'm just thinking, 'kids are really stupid,'" Doug McGowan said. "They don't understand the implications of what that could do to somebody. They may be immune to it or not showing signs of a problem, but they could take it home and infect their parents if they get it, and their parents could take it and infect somebody else."

McGowan said children might think they can't get COVID-19 because a majority of the severe cases are in older patients with preexisting conditions. He also said there is a lot of misinformation about the virus on the internet that people could believe.

"You will see one site and it will say this is good for you and you will see another site and it will say this is bad for you," McGowan said. "You really don't know what to believe. I try to watch the news and see what the doctor recommendations are."

Those doctor recommendations are to follow the social distancing guidelines and stay at home as much as possible to prevent the spread of coronavirus between people.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department is working with essential businesses that are remaining open to ensure surfaces are cleaned.

The coronavirus has been found to live in the air for up to three hours and on cleaned surfaced for up to three days, Dr. Sherri Young said. New research has found it alive on an uncleaned surface more than two weeks after an infected person last had contact.

"When we are doing things in our community, we have to do them very intelligently, so bring your wipes with you, bring your hand sanitizer with you," Young said. "If you are touching things on a shelf or using that shopping cart, wipe that cart down before you go to the store."

"If you are sick, have someone else go get your groceries," Young continued. "That is a really good moral responsibility right there, if you are sick have someone else go out and get that grocery shopping done for you."

TikTok said in a statement to WSAZ that it is removing "Coronavirus Challenge" posts from its platform.

"It is a violation of our Community Guidelines, which prohibits content that encourages, promotes or glorifies dangerous challenges that might lead to injury," a company spokesperson said.