In an interview with Dr. Asma Rashid, the Times outlined an environment removed from the more common scenes of the pandemic.
Rashid insists that for the rich and famous, the summer was not much different from any other. The only change, in most cases, was COVID-19 testing.
“We’ve gone to these private, private, private events, where they have me sign a ‘nothing you see in this house can be leaked’ document,” Rashid said. “This is still a party town.”
While New York City built up its testing during the pandemic, other parts of the state were not able to. Suffolk County, where the Hamptons is located, lacks significant testing infrastructure.
However, the area – well-known as a vacation destination for wealthier New York residents – has money to spare, and summertime residents can spend to ensure they’re virus free.
“Every time there is an event, a protest or Fourth of July celebration, there is higher demand,” Rashid said. “The way I would describe our growth is exponential,” she continued, explaining how she tripled her staff to keep up with the demand for coronavirus testing over the summer.
Testing can take up to 30 minutes, and Rashid often administers it to guests in their cars. If they test positive, they’re turned around.
Rashid is not the only doctor seeing an increase in business; residents are seeking tests for peace of mind as much as for safety.
Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, NYC’s deputy commissioner of disease control, cautions that a reliance on the rapid tests is risky as they aren’t totally reliable.
“No test is 100 percent,” Rashid told the Times. “A negative test does not preclude one to not be carrying the virus.”