Do you ever feel self-conscious about your walking speed? Like, if your destination was really that important to your life, you’d be moving a bit faster? I mean, why stop there? If your life is so important, why aren’t you doing everything more quickly, more efficiently? Hi, I’m Micah Kim, known on the COVID test speedrunning forums as NostrilPlug1, and today I’ll be channeling that existential fear into an optimization of the Everlywell self-applied COVID test.
COVID testing has been a hotly contested speedrun for a year now, with thousands of people putting up times every day. To narrow down the categories, we will be using the latest Everlywell release for our run.
The generally accepted start time is upon entry to the testing facility (in our case, the Lowry Center Toan Track), and the run ends when the station is cleaned and exited. The only two required checkpoints are the submission of a valid COVID-19 test, and the cleaning of the station afterwards. The techniques presented in this article are meant to bridge the gaps between these four steps as efficiently as possible.
According to my buddy who swears he’s the fastest gun in the Eastern Midwest, the time to beat is roughly three minutes. A normal run would take eight to twelve minutes, so there’s already been quite a bit of optimizing going on in this category. These techniques include going early, waiting for the middle of the hour to avoid a swell of people coming from class, or officially cancelling COVID-19 testing because of a “snow day” so you can attempt to take the record in optimal conditions. However, these techniques lack the true grit that the speedrunning community is known for, so I’ll share with you some of the secret tricks that I’ve been working on.
Chair Skip – Skipping the chair at the entrance shaves a few seconds off of the final time, as dragging a chair to the table and back ultimately encumbers the runner for those crucial seconds that can be used to log in to Everlywell.
Login Boosting – This technique relies on RNG, or random chance. If the person who went before you neglected to log out of their computer, you can actually register the kit in their name instead. This is not advised for anyone who will have to explain themselves later, but for speedrunning purposes, it’s worth checking out.
Tissue Wall-Clip – The COVID test relies upon detecting antibodies in the mucus of your nose, hence the unceremonious sticking of the brush. But what’s not as well-known is that the snot can actually wall-clip out of your nose through use of a tissue. Simply blow your nose into the tissue, then carefully smear the tissue across the tip of the brush. This saves a significant amount of time, but is the highest-risk technique of all, as it can cause a glitch that completely crashes the game, forcing you to start over.
Having Only One Initial – Cuts the time spent signing the agreement by 50%.
Up until now, I’ve detailed the easiest ways to take the test. However, I’ve personally uncovered a new controversial technique that others on the forum have called into question, leading me to create the Positive% category. Essentially, this run will ensure that the test is administered to me, rather than me having to administer it to myself. As long as the test is submitted, I will have a run that does not require me to clean the station afterwards, and instead I will be carried to the Comfort Inn in a bubonic-plague-style death cart.
I do this by simulating the symptoms of rabies and attempting to bite the volunteers. Once I am subdued (this will be easy, since I do not actually have rabies) I will be tested for COVID-19 (and rabies). The volunteers, if fully optimized, would be able to submit my tests with greater expedience, especially if I actually manage to bite one of them. Thus, my speedrun would be complete. The only downside, as I mentioned, would be me having to be quarantined anyways until the tests return. I would be confined to the Comfort Inn with the rest of the rabies people.
Some would say that this goes against the spirit of an actual COVID-19 test. To them I say, pish. In pandemic times, my productivity and creativity have felt so incredibly stunted that I resort to perfecting my daily life out of some misguided sense of control, and yet the fact is that as I take the test I can never be quite sure that it’ll come back negative, and there’s always a bit of a lump just above my heart when I open the results email. I need this to be done quickly. I need it to be over, because it’s like a ship anchor buoyed by a sheet of paper; I know it has to tear somewhere, somehow.
This has been NostrilPlug1 confirming that Dream definitely cheated in that Minecraft run. Like and subscribe!