In times of great adversity, we’re drawn to things that bring us comfort: Music, yoga, warm baths, private bedroom viewings of “The Devil Wears Prada.”
But in a three-month period overtaken by panic about COVID-19, it seems a heroic new genre of self-soothing has emerged: the ASMR coronavirus video.
As anxieties have mounted about the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, a group of ASMR YouTubers have decided to try their hands at calming their disquieted viewers.
Typically, ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) videos are meant to simulate real-life situations. They’re watched by millions of people who get “a brain orgasm of sorts” from the sound of whispering YouTubers doing things like folding clothes, or noisily eating foods, or gently brushing their hair.
But this new genre takes it a step further. In one 30-minute video, for example, from the account ASMR Darling, the YouTuber plays a doctor doing a full checkup on you, the viewer, for COVID-19.
She checks your ears. She swabs your mouth. She exits the screen to wash her hands, then returns to offer you some valuable information, “because there’s a lot of panic about the coronavirus right now, and it’s important that we establish what is fact and what is not true,” she says from behind a mask.
The point is right there in the title: raising awareness and dispelling myths. “I understand it is a sensitive subject, but I think using my platform to debunk myths around the virus and giving real health tips will be beneficial to anyone who watches,” Taylor Darling, the woman behind the video, told BuzzFeed News this week.
The video already has over 400,000 views, and includes an adamant reminder in its description that “ASMR is not a medical treatment.” (It has not been monetized, either.)