Article Lead Image

YouTube/That Crazy Disney Lady

Streamers came down with COVID-19 symptoms at Disney, returned the next day (updated)

They say it's not coronavirus—but they refused testing.


Esther Bell

Internet Culture

Posted on Jul 12, 2020   Updated on Jul 15, 2020, 12:20 pm CDT

Update July 15, 12:20pm CT: Tonya Blakey has maintained the video circulating leaves out critical information and paints her and Robin DePaolo in a negative light. In a phone call with the Daily Dot, Blakey said DePaolo has had allergic reactions before and is certain that is all her illness was. “We have never had a symptom of COVID-19, we still don’t have symptoms. The fact that this story is circulating to look like we are infecting people is a complete hoax,” Blakey said.

Update July 14, 5:27pm CT: In an email to the Daily Dot, Blakey said that her YouTube channel has received death threats after her live-stream went viral. She says that she and DePaolo do not have coronavirus symptoms. She said that DePaolo had an allergic reaction to a tree nut—nothing more.

This story has been updated.

Two streamers are facing scrutiny online after they came down with COVID-19 symptoms and continued their vacation at Disney World. One woman got sick to her stomach, and both women allegedly complained of sore throats the next day. They attributed their symptoms to an allergic reaction and screaming on roller coasters, but viewers weren’t convinced.

Tonya Blakey was live-streaming her trip to Disney on her YouTube channel, That Crazy Disney Lady, when her friend Robin DePaolo had an allergic reaction to a brownie. DePaolo did not feel her reaction was severe enough to use her EpiPen, so she went to a medic station and took a Benadryl instead.

The two left the medic station, but Blakey said DePaolo was still not feeling well so they returned to the station for further assistance. Blakey said DePaolo had elevated blood pressure, was vomiting “violently,” and refused to go to a hospital for treatment or testing.

Many viewers questioned if DePaolo had come down with something more serious, but Blakey sternly rejected this.

“If anybody else asks about Robin having COVID-19, you will be not in the group anymore,” Blakey told her followers the next day.

Now, a video of Blakey listing DePaolo’s symptoms and telling her followers she did not have COVID-19 is circulating on social media.

The Reddit clip that went viral, however, has been deleted, with a redditor commenting: “I really don’t think this is Covid-19. Those symptoms are fairly normal for a nut allergy and they only lasted a few hours… I really think this clip portrays them in a bad light without all the context.”

Many think it is unsafe that Disney reopened, and are worried Blakey and DePaolo could be sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists a sore throat and vomiting as COVID-19 symptoms.

“I’m sure they’re nice ladies who think they’re invincible and everything’s good. But this is why theme parks shouldn’t be open in a pandemic,” Jenny Nicholson, a fellow Disney fan, tweeted.

Disney is already under fire for reopening while the U.S. still has rising numbers of COVID-19 cases. Many worry reopening theme parks will bring infections to all parts of the country.

COVID-19 cases in Florida are reaching record highs. Florida reported an increase of 15,300 new COVID-19 cases July 12, the largest single-day increase yet in the U.S.

Share this article
*First Published: Jul 12, 2020, 4:24 pm CDT