Airbnb host Martin Eaton though he had a golden ticket, but the short-term rental marketplace demoted him to bronze.
After the Brooklyn resident found out he tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, he crowed about it on his Airbnb listing for a “Williamsburg Penthouse Guestroom.” Eaton described himself as an “IMMUNE HOST” in the title of the listing.
But Airbnb slapped him on the wrists. “[My] account was suspended,” the 48-year-old writer told The Post via text message. “I spoke to their basic customer service and they said it was being blocked from taking reservations … I couldn’t say I had antibodies in my title or description.”
In its content policy for hosts, Airbnb makes its pandemic-related restrictions fairly clear: “Airbnb hosts may not reference COVID-19, coronavirus or quarantine in listing titles.” Other forbidden flexes include “promises that hosts or listings are not impacted by or exposed to COVID-19.” Airbnb did not respond to a request for comment about Eaton’s listing removal.
The 41-photo gallery for Eaton’s now-suspended room for rent included a stylish living room, a sunset as seen from his rooftop and a picture of a positive antibody test, according to the Guardian, which first spotted the Airbnb boast.
“If I was having to travel to New York, I’d prefer staying with somebody who had the antibodies versus somebody who didn’t,” Eaton told the Guardian before the listing was taken down. “It’s proved pretty successful.”
Even though a positive antibody test may indicate some resistance to the coronavirus, medical experts say, the person could still pass the virus to others or perhaps even catch COVID-19 again.
“The presence of antibodies doesn’t mean immunity, or at least we don’t know that it means immunity,” says Navya Mysore, a family physician at One Medical. “I can understand how this test feels tempting, like, ‘I can go back to what I was doing before.’ ”
Mysore adds that social-distancing, mask-wearing and hand-washing recommendations still apply, along with strictly limiting in-person interactions with anyone outside your household. “You still need to practice the same kinds of precautions that you would be doing otherwise,” she says.
Sometimes, though, sharing personal space with new people is unavoidable.
So if you’re looking for a little herd immunity, it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll get coronavirus from us!
– Allison Schingel, a 25-year-old tutor in Brooklyn who tested positive for coronavirus antibodies and is looking for a third roommate
In the Gypsy Housing Facebook group, where members post rooms for rent, at least three posts by folks looking for new roommates put COVID-19 must-haves front and center.
A share in Midtown offers no antibody claims but touts rigorous cleaning requirements, including that all residents wipe down groceries, maintain six feet of distance and ban visitors. The stringent rules for prospective roommates are tempered with an apology: “I’m sorry for how tough this sounds. We are all mentally fatigued from COVID-19. But until the household [has] the vaccination or antibodies and [knows] about the mutation/immunity, it’s very hard.”
In a three-bedroom Brooklyn apartment, where one resident, Allison Schingel, has tested positive for antibodies and the other expects to test positive as well, the living sounds a bit easier: “So if you’re looking for a little herd immunity,” reads Schingel’s ad for their $ 700/month spare room, “it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll get coronavirus from us!”
Schingel, a 25-year-old reading tutor, tells The Post, “Leaving COVID-19 disclaimers is the right thing to do. I will ask people if they are conscientious [about social distancing and other precautions]. If you are someone who wants to have a lot of people over, we won’t tolerate that. I also want people to know that there was COVID in the apartment. “
She and her roommate were sick months ago, she adds, “and we really cleaned. So I don’t think there is any COVID now.”