It’s corona time? TikTok meme has a field day with coronavirus prevention

The coronavirus outbreak has reached social media app TikTok.
(Joel Saget / AFP / Getty Images)

Leave it to TikTok to get kids to practice good hygiene as the coronavirus continues to spread.

Memes about the respiratory illness have gone, well, viral on the popular social media app thanks to a music clip created by user playboierik21 that repeats the words “It’s corona time” to the electronic beat of “Don’t Stop the Rock” by Freestyle.

More than 390,000 TikTok users have now used the song in short videos showing themselves disinfecting surfaces before touching them, vigorously scrubbing their hands or hoarding hand sanitizer.


One post shared by Youssef Elmorsi even depicts someone going to extreme lengths to purchase hand sanitizer from a street vendor on the black market. Though the video was presumably staged, hand sanitizer has been in low supply and high demand in recent weeks as people scramble to protect themselves against germs.

Another montage posted by Dr. Tommy Martin takes a more educational approach, demonstrating how followers can “wash your hands often with soap and water,” “avoid touching your” eyes, nose, mouth and face, and “avoid close contact with people who are sick.”

Anxiety over the coronavirus outbreak, especially among young people, is thriving in an online ecosystem that tends to favor doomsday predictions.

“Not corona time!” the clip advises. “Take simple steps to help protect yourself!”

Some have even taken the opportunity to inform others about various ways the outbreak is affecting daily life, like user jcunderthesea, who documented the record low wait times and open space at Disney theme parks as more folks are “social distancing” themselves by avoiding crowded areas.

Disney has already shut down its themed resorts in Shanghai and Hong Kong, while more local parks, such as Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida, remain open.

Not everyone is using the song responsibly, however. Several videos feature people pretending to be sick or forcibly quarantined, and racist and xenophobic content profiling Chinese people has also surfaced on the app. The United States has seen an uptick in misinformation and racism toward Asian Americans since the virus began spreading in Wuhan, China.

The “corona time” phrase has also reached Twitter as a hashtag, accompanying tweets sharing TikTok videos, updates on coronavirus-related events such as school closings, and masked selfies.