Study: Some Students Intentionally Caught Covid, Didn’t Report Positive Tests

Study: Some Students Intentionally Caught Covid, Didn’t Report Positive Tests

Admin is ceebs, I guess

A recent study by a group of sixth-year Otago Med students claims that students significantly under-reported positive Covid-19 RAT tests, both to the Uni and Government. The study was conducted in 2022 between Flo-Week and the end of Semester One. 160 households in North Dunedin were randomly selected using Microsoft Excel – guess it’s handy for more than just commerce students.


Unsurprisingly, the general vibe from students towards Covid testing, reporting and any other sort of admin was “ceebs”. According to the study, one third of students did not report their positive RAT test results. Around two-thirds of those students said they were “unaware that reporting was a requirement”. Grace, president of the Otago Disabled Students Association, told Critic Te Ārohi that it comes down to “a general attitude of apathy toward COVID”. Other reasons given for not reporting their positive tests included not knowing how, feeling that “reporting provided no benefit for individuals”, or simply that it is a “hassle”. One student said they “believed that they had the right not to report”. We get it, you study law.


Charlie* told Critic Te Ārohi that they didn’t feel the need to report as “there's no real reason to if you’re isolating anyway and doing the right thing.” Kat, a public health student, also said that the “reliability of Covid tests aren’t that great.”


Grace told Critic Te Ārohi that it is important for students to upload positive RAT tests to give an accurate gauge of risk. “Without this information being accurate, disabled students are unable to make informed decisions that greatly impact their health,” said Grace.


The study also found that students did not fare so well on the Covid-catching side of things. Around half of participants said they “interacted normally” with positive cases in their household. Meanwhile, a quarter of students said they deliberately attempted to catch Covid from their household contacts. We’ll leave their methods up to your imagination. This initially bizarre behaviour was likely due to the rule at the time that every positive test within a household would result in an iso restart. Sick (literally).


For six students interviewed, however, iso requirements didn't stop them from “meeting social commitments” (aka hitting Castle St). Critic Te Ārohi sincerely hopes y’all had a great time drinking away your Covid and spreading it to your mates.


The study admits there “may be inaccuracies due to flatmates not knowing the reporting status of others in their flat.” However, the study claims that this is counteracted by “social desirability bias” as students could overestimate their reporting to try to impress the hot young aspiring doctors conducting the study. Something the study does not consider is the ingenuity of some students to simply not test in the first place. Schrödinger's cat, baby. Charlie told Critic Te Ārohi that there’s “no real point [in testing] as we know everyone else has it.”


Whatever the case, it is clear there was still considerable under-reporting of positive Covid cases. A spokesperson for the Uni told Critic Te Ārohi that “under-reporting of positive Covid cases in the community is a national issue, not just an issue among students.” Kind of like saying climate change is a global problem, Aotearoa only contributes a small part to it.


*Name changed.

This article first appeared in Issue 1, 2023.
Posted 5:07pm Sunday 26th February 2023 by Zak Rudin.