- Larz, 21, from Beverly Hills, revealed on Twitter that he had caught coronavirus
- He uploaded video of himself licking a toilet bowl last week as part of craze
- Follows trend set by TikTok user Ava Louise, 22, who licked toilet seat on flight
- It comes as the number infected by COVID-19 rose to more than 55,000 in US
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
A California ‘influencer’ has claimed he is in hospital with coronavirus just days after posting a video of himself licking a toilet bowl for a revolting TikTok challenge.
Larz, 21, who was also part of a craze which saw youngsters licking tubs of ice cream in supermarkets, revealed in a since-deleted tweet: ‘I tested positive for Coronavirus.’
The post which includes a video of him languishing in a hospital bed is a far cry from the foul video he posted five days ago of him licking a public toilet seat, which was captioned: ‘RT (retweet) to spread awareness for the Coronavirus.’
It was an imitation – or meme – of a reckless and abhorrent stunt by TikTok sensation Ava Louise. The 22-year-old filmed herself licking the toilet seat on a plane with the caption ‘coronavirus challenge.’
Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan called Larz ‘scum’ and said that his catching the virus was ‘karma.’
It comes as the number who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the US soared to more than 55,000, including 784 deaths.
Morgan said this morning: ‘Karma is a strange thing. If you behave in such a reckless, moronic, selfless manner, karma will catch up with you.
‘I don’t take any pleasure, I don’t wish illness on people, but this has got to stop. These acts of reckless stupidity. That guy who licked the toilet bowl, did he infect anyone else?’
Larz previously appeared on Dr Phil with another influencer Bameron Kall, 20, where they discussed how they had licked tubs of ice cream and spat mouthwash back into the bottle in viral videos.
‘I don’t talk to my family,’ Larz told Dr Phil ‘They’re irrelevant. None of them have followers, if they got followers or got rich I’d probably talk to them again.’
Larz bragged about he had ‘lots of money’ from paid sponsorship deals across his social media accounts where he posts pictures with luxury cars and celebrities.
It comes amid a worrying spate of similar incidents across the US with younger generations using social media to mock coronavirus and gain ‘clout.’
Just yesterday, a 26-year-old from Missouri was charged with making a terrorist threat after he filmed himself licking a row of toiletry products at a Walmart.
Cody Pfister, 26, of Warrenton, Missouri, uploaded the video to Snapchat on March 11 and was charged on Tuesday with ‘knowingly causing a false belief or fear that a condition involving danger to life existed.’
Warrenton police said they had received complaints from around the world including the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands and said it takes these concerns ‘extremely seriously.’
Pfister, who has previous convictions for burglary and theft, is the latest to get into trouble with the law in a worrying trend seeing younger generations mocking the deadly virus on social media.
UK morning TV presenter, Piers Morgan, earlier this week called for Pfister to be locked up and denied healthcare if he contracts coronavirus.
The Good Morning Britain host slammed the ‘moron’ Monday morning and said a jail sentence might help ‘concentrate his mind’.
It comes as the the number infected by coronavirus in Missouri reached more than 250, including five deaths. Meanwhile the number infected in the US has soared to more than 55,000, with at least 709 dead.
Speaking on ITV, Morgan said: ‘You know what I’d like to happen to him? I’d like him found, and I’m sure they’ll get him, put in prison immediately and then I’d like him deprived of any health care should be then get the virus having deliberately tried to give it, potentially, to lots of other people.
‘That might concentrate the minds of these morons. And it might concentrate the minds of these morons here too.’
In the US spring breakers have been criticized for still flocking to South Beach and other Miami hotspots despite warnings to avoid mass gatherings.
And just yesterday a North Carolina man was arrested after streaming a video of himself walking around a Walmart saying he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Justin Rhodes, 31, told viewers in the Facebook Live stream he was largely asymptomatic, except for a ‘tickly throat’, while claiming that he was breaching a 14-day quarantine and was going to infect others at the store.
He shot the video at the supermarket in Albermarle on Wednesday and was arrested on Friday, WRAL TV reported.
‘Definitely tested positive for coronavirus,’ he tells viewers, ‘Definitely was asked to self-quarantine for 14 to 21 days.’
He continues: ‘They say it’s highly contagious, obviously I’m in Walmart because I’ve got to eat too. So I’ve got to deal with it. If I’ve got it, y’all gone get it too. F**k all ya’ll that’s how I feel about it.’
At another point in the video he says: ‘All these old people finna die, I don’t understand why they here. They need to have their nieces and their nephews and their granddaughters go get their sh*t.’
Albermarle police said in a statement they had confirmed with local health officials that nobody in Stanly County had tested positive for COVID-19.
Rhodes was charged with perpetrating a hoax and disorderly conduct. He was handed a $10,000 bond and will next appear in court on March 30.
It comes amid an increasing trend of coronavirus pranksters, particularly involving social media and the younger generations, who also happen to be least at risk of the disease.
It comes just days after police in Virginia said they had identified two teenagers who filmed themselves coughing on produce in a grocery store and uploading the video.
The incident in Purcellville, Virginia, some 55 miles from the White House, took place in a Harris Teeter store on March 18, but police determined that there was no criminal intent involved.
The store quickly informed the police and removed the produce involved, taking measures to ensure the safety of their customers from the coronavirus.
‘The two juveniles questioned admitted to their involvement, and it was determined that there was no criminal intent,’ the police statement read.
However, it added: ‘With schools closed to allow for social distancing to lessen the spread of the coronavirus, police also asked parents to monitor their children’s activities, including activities on social media ‘to discourage the promotion of any such fear-inducing behavior.
‘With school closures in effect, this allows for more idle time among children, especially teenagers who are often not supervised as closely.
‘We have learned that this appears to be a disturbing trend on social media across the country, and we ask for help from parents to discourage this behavior immediately.’
Social media searches for #coronaviruschallenge, #coughingchallenge and #grocerystorechallenge reveal similar videos.
In one video posted to TikTok, two people are seen inside a grocery store with one coughing and sneezing as he walks past the other shopping. He’s eventually handed some toilet paper to deal with the sneezes.
Another filmed in a Canadian store jokes at the reaction people have if a person starts to cough amid the current pandemic.
As one man pretends to cough, the other runs in the opposite direction down the aisle.
Many of those posted under the hashtags are of customers attempting to shop amid the panic with long lines and empty shelves making the normal chore more of a challenge than it used to be.
Others are performing dances within grocery stores to try and raise the spirits of those battling through the crowds to stock up.
Schools around the country closed over the last two weeks to aid authorities in combating the spread of the coronavirus.
While evidence from China, the country first hit by a major outbreak, suggested that younger people were not at risk from the virus as much as the elderly, the number of cases in the U.S. so far is suggesting that all young people may not be as safe from serious health complications as first believed.