covid test, fake covid results
Photo by Steve Nomax on Unsplash

Fake COVID-19 test result certificates are springing up, thanks to social media oversharing.

Look, we get it. That suspiciously stuffy nose is giving you anxiety. Have you really lost your sense of smell? Maybe it's just congestion? You start kicking yourself. Was the grocery store trip to get Haagen Dazs really worth it?

To ease the worry, you do the next responsible thing: you get tested. Hooray! It’s negative! Your instinct to announce the good news to the world is both urgent and insistent.

However, that negative test result you post to social media might have some less-than-positive outcomes.

A warning has been issued that negative test results posted online are being used to supply fake COVID-19 passes. And doctoring them is quite easy.


One man reported to a local British newspaper (the Lancashire Telegraph) that he was given a negative test by a friend, and then it was only a matter of changing the name and birthdate before that COVID-19 test passed as his own. Even the date can be edited to better reflect the required time limit.

“People are doing this as you can’t get a Covid test if you have to travel to Pakistan in case of an emergency. It is difficult to get one unless you are a key worker,” he told the Telegraph.

For some, this is an attempt to avoid the exorbitant prices being charged for legitimate tests through private clinics.

Shabaz Ilyas, who paid to have an authentic PCR test, told the Telegraph:

“This is in addition to the extortionate prices the airlines are already charging…As usual, a mini industry has been created to exploit people. This is just another example of discriminating against the poor, who are already facing financial problems.

These counterfeit tests have become the new fake IDs — sold for somewhere around £50 (about $68) in the U.K. — and can be used to enter venues and, as mentioned, travel. Which, of course, defeats the purpose of getting tested in the first place and risks the safety of those in close proximity to the person using the black market results.

fake id, covid travel requirements bart simpson episode 20 GIF Giphy

Shahzad Ali, CEO of security training platform Get Licensed, marked the use of fake COVID-19 passes as “inevitable” according to Wales Online, saying that “there is obviously going to be a market…because there will be people who want to go about their life like normal and not have to take Covid tests for things they didn’t have to before.”

And it's not like similar situations haven't been happening already. Stories of fake vaccination cards made from social media posts have been making headlines since early 2021. Though it's a disappointing aspect of humanity, this is certainly nothing new.

"Whilst grossly unethical and potentially very dangerous, it is also illegal to use/supply/distribute fake Covid passes and could see you rack up a fine of £10,000 should you be caught,” he added.

In order to avoid this “new complication,” Ali’s advice is, of course, to avoid posting on social media. Not as cathartic, perhaps. But infinitely safer.

Forbes also shared that another travel solution in the near future might be using an app called CommonPass, which gives users a secure digital health pass, including a private COVID-19 test status.

Forbes writes:

“After downloading the app, a traveler can get a Covid-19 test at a participating lab and pull the results right into the app. The traveler can also complete any additional screening questionnaires required by the destination country. Finally, CommonPass confirms that the traveler is compliant with all entry requirements and generates a QR code which can be scanned by airline staff and border officials.

As always, social media can be a force for good and for ill. As this pandemic continues, so too does the motto, “stay safe.” That includes online.

Courtesy of Elaine Ahn

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The energy in a hospital can sometimes feel overwhelming, whether you’re experiencing it as a patient, visitor or employee. However, there are a few one-of-a-kind individuals like Elaine Ahn, an operating room registered nurse in Diamond Bar, California, who thrive under this type of constant pressure.

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via Pexels

If you know how to fix this tape, you grew up in the 1990s.

There are a lot of reasons to feel a twinge of nostalgia for the final days of the 20th century. Rampant inflation, a global pandemic and political unrest have created a sense of uneasiness about the future that has everyone feeling a bit down.

There’s also a feeling that the current state of pop culture is lacking as well. Nobody listens to new music anymore and unless you’re into superheroes, it seems like creativity is seriously missing from the silver screen.

But, you gotta admit, that TV is still pretty damn good.

A lot of folks feel Americans have become a lot harsher to one another due to political divides, which seem to be widening by the day due to the power of the internet and partisan media.

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Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

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Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

Screenshot taken from a live video of the trial.

A recent (and fairly insensitive) sketch from “Saturday Night Live” said it best regarding the widespread fixation many have on the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial:

“It’s not the most pertinent story of the moment, but with all the problems in the world, isn’t it nice to have a news story we can all collectively watch and say ‘glad it ain't me?’”

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Trial Cold Open - SNL www.youtube.com

Schadenfreude, celebrity fascination and previously inaccessible information now being at our fingertips is a potent combination in this trial, making amateur lawyers and psychologists of all who feel compelled to unleash their hot takes. And though the right to converse and speculate exists, is it always in our best interests to do so? Especially when it means potentially spreading misinformation, or at the cost of empathy and compassion?

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