Gwyneth Paltrow is worried about the Coronavirus so she’s traveling with a mask

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably saw that I am freaking out about Coronavirus. If this was all some kind of mass-hysteria overreaction, well… it worked. I’m really worried. It did not help at all that I was already feeling my seasonal allergies this week, and that I’ve had Sudafed-brain for days. So basically… people should be worried and concerned about Coronavirus, but please don’t let the hysteria take over. It’s a really bad and deadly version of the flu and a lot of us will probably get it and be sick for a bit and then it will be okay, maybe. I mean, yes, the stock market is tanking almost solely because American business knows that no one is prepared for a pandemic to crush our already-kneecapped health care system. But wash your hands, take care of yourselves, take your vitamins, sleep, eat well, etc.

Anyway, I know I’m not the only person freaking out. Gwyneth Paltrow is freaking out too. But in her special Goop way. She posted an Instagram of herself wearing a face mask on a plane, where she’s flying to Paris, probably for Fashion Week. Note: several designers canceled their runway shows in Milan already, as the Coronavirus has hit Italy in a big way. But let’s not let that deter Gwyneth! She posted the IG with this message:

En route to Paris. Paranoid? Prudent? Panicked? Placid? Pandemic? Propaganda? Paltrow’s just going to go ahead and sleep with this thing on the plane. I’ve already been in this movie. Stay safe. Don’t shake hands. Wash hands frequently.

[From Gwyneth’s IG]

First of all, of course she’s talking about herself in the third person. How Kellan Lutz of her. Second of all, of course she’s making a reference to one of her own films, 2011’s Contagion, just to let us know that she INVENTED pandemics. Third of all… yeah, wash your hands and don’t shake hands with people, but… all indications are that Coronavirus has a longer-than-normal incubation period and those virus germs will get all over your clothes and stuff. Just FYI. So… Typhoid Mary = Coronavirus Goop?

Here’s a look at the moment when Gwyneth invented pandemics.

Royal visit to MI5

Royal visit to MI5

Photos courtesy of Instagram, ‘Contagion’.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

138 Responses to “Gwyneth Paltrow is worried about the Coronavirus so she’s traveling with a mask”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Faye G says:

    I’m definitely worried about the pandemic, I’ve been stocking up on extra food and supplies this week. The hardest part is just not knowing how bad it will get, but now that the CDC is issuing a warning I’m planning for the worst.

    Also I’ve heard that the biggest risk so far is supply chain and economic disruptions. We could start to see less stock on the shelves, since so many of our products come from China or Asian countries.

    • Kat says:

      I am very worried. I have an underlying condition that puts me at extreme risk if I contract it. My husband and I had to go to the pharmacy last night for med refills and decided we should go ahead buy masks just in case. We live in Texas and our pharmacy is completely out of masks and so was the pharmacy down the road. I went online to Amazon to try to order and most of them are not available as they don’t know when will be in stock again. I’m just making the point that it’s wise to get prepared for this. I plan to stay at home and work if this plays out in a bad way.

      • Sass says:

        The masks are actually made to prevent the disease spreading from sick people to others. It doesn’t keep the illness out. They’re made to keep it contained.

      • Heather says:

        @Sass. You’re right – most masks are for the sole intention of keeping the illness in. But there are actually two types of masks available, now. And one is intended for keeping the illness out. These were designed for use by medical professionals, but they can be purchased by the general public.
        I look after my 89 year old mother, who has dementia, and an older brother who has COPD, so I’ve been researching the s#!t out of this. :)

      • day shift stripper says:

        I’m in the Panhandle of TX–husband is a paint contractor. I’m driving 4 hours tomorrow to get masks for his jobsites for godsakes…shit could come to a serious standstill when that is the case. Home Depot sold out, Lowe’s, Ace…even the auto paint suppliers are dry.

    • Desdemona says:

      I am worried too.. I work at a school, and a colleague just went on holidays to Italy for carnival break and is returning today. I definitely hope she is staying home in quarantine…

      • Faye says:

        All the travel is what worries me. I have a cousin in Germany right now, not scheduled to come back for another month but who knows what’ll happen? I agree that people should self quarantine in these situations

    • bilingual says:

      In terms of food, I read you should stock up on dried beans (fibre), pasta (carbs), and canned fish (protein). These have long storage life and cover all the bases and you can stay relatively well nourished for weeks. Prayers for everyone, but I’m fairly confident a vaccine will be available eventually.

    • EM says:

      I’ve been following this from early January and started buying extra supplies. Think about having 2 – 4 weeks of “stuff” so you can self-isolate. My family called me obsessed this past Friday when a couple of the immunologists/risk experts shifted their messaging & I wanted to buy more. Guessing they’re happy I have supplies now.

      As for masks, try your hardware store’s paint aisle. Our local Lowes still had N95 as of yesterday morning. For balanced information, Twitter has great experts who are worth following:

      • Nicole says:

        This great, thanks EM! Our local Lowes has been out of N95s for several weeks. Might try some of the small stores this weekend.

  2. Originaltessa says:

    I’m no expert, but I think a good start would be for unnecessary international travel, a la a trip to fashion week, should be avoided. Just stay home. Don’t go. Yes, the economy takes a hit, but it also would greatly hinder the spread of a pandemic disease if people just stayed put and didn’t travel all over the place. That’s how it’s spreading.

    • Mac says:

      I heard on NPR today that there is no scientific evidence that face masks actually reduce the risk of catching a contagious virus.

      • chloe says:

        There are certain masks that can prevent it, but the blue paper ones are worthless, you need a respirator mask.

      • Mich says:

        From what I’ve read, it depends on the type of mask, the fit, and the user wearing it the way they are supposed to (i.e. not ripping it off all the time because it is uncomfortable). N95 masks block 95% of particles. N99 masks block 99%.

        Masks also prevent inadvertently touching your mouth and nose. They don’t cover the eyes, of course, so different precautions need to be taken on that front.

      • Arpeggi says:

        There’s absolutely no need to wear a face mask if you aren’t sick. Heck! I see enough people not wearing gloves properly in my research institute to know that face masks at large would be pointless. Wash your hands, forget about alcohol-base disinfectants like Purel soap and water’s much better, don’t lick the handles on the metro/bus and it’s going to be ok. Or not, you might get sick no matter what because sickness happens. But more than likely, you’ll be fine by using the normal basic hygiene methods

      • Lightpurple says:

        They do help reduce the chance of an infected person spreading it, depending on the type of mask.

      • Escondista says:

        I think you can catch it through eyes if there are particulates sneezed or coughed into the air.

      • Adrianna says:

        I read on a news site that the masks Paltrow and some other celebrity were wearing in an airport were basically useless.

    • BL says:

      Exactly! If you were “paranoid” then you wouldn’t be jet setting to Paris for… Fashion Week?!

    • MaryContrary says:

      Exactly. Dear lord-just common sense.

    • Elisa says:

      Well said.

    • fluffy says:

      Thumbs up to your comment.

  3. Jules says:

    “I’ve already been in this movie”. Damn this girl is so high on herself she really thinks the world revolves around her!

    • Chanteloup says:

      SERIOUSLY, “I’ve already been in this movie” is so demeaning to those actually suffering real ills/deaths/or losses of loved ones. Just. Shut. Up.

      I’ve got to quit clicking on stories about this shillster or I’m gonna die of high blood pressure long before the coronavirus gets me.

  4. Laalaa says:

    Croatian here (the first corona case was confirmed yesterday, the 2nd today, and it’s been managed extremely well by our health system)
    It is NOT a deadly virus, it is a virus which has a death rate under 2 %.
    People who died were already sick, and their immune system was compromised to begin with.
    The virus is a flu-like virus.
    Do not panic, just be cautious.
    As your health services should be.

    • Chlo says:

      Edit: I just read the WHO website that lists the mortality rate at 2%. Not sure where I read 9% yesterday although I will say I was only reading reputable sites. I’m still freaked out by the situation.

      I thought I read yesterday via CDC and NYT that the the mortality rate was around 9% and it’s more contagious than the flu. I also read that the draconian measures China took to shut it down helped limit the spread. I would be happy to be proved wrong. I’m planning a trip to target this weekend to stock up on formula and ibuprofen. Ha. But also not ha.

      • Nanny to the Rescue says:

        9% could be from completely healed vs. dead ratio because it is currently at around 10%.

        The difference from 2 % are people who are still sick but have milder symptoms. So percentage of those dying could go up if their condition worsens. Or it could go down, since it’s also quite reasonable to believe that many mild cases, if they’re just cold- or flu-like, go unreported. Especially in Europe where right until recently nobody knew how huge the problem has become.

    • Kk2 says:

      Agree. I’m in the US and I’m somewhat concerned but not overly so. I would be avoiding international travel at the moment but I’m not stocking up on canned goods. The death rate in wuhan is 2-4 percent and that’s probably overestimated (because a lot of people who are infected have mild symptoms and are never tested and confirmed). Outside of wuhan the death rate has been around 1 percent- worse than the flu but not like ebola or anything. Elderly people are most likely to be affected. So for me it’s a concern but not a panic. I think it will spread worldwide inevitably, but we will have a vaccine in 12-18 months. Hopefully it will wane with regular flu season (in northern hemisphere) in 2 months or so.

      • bilingual says:

        Your post sums it all up. I thought maybe end of this year for the vaccine but I’ve read more articles saying the 12 – 18 months time frame is probably accurate. Also just to add, once you’ve been exposed, you’re immune.

    • Mich says:

      The virus is not flu-like. It is pneumonia-like and 20 times more deadly than the flu. Short of death, approximately 25% of known cases so far have been so serious they require intensive care hospitalization.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        As well, it diminishes the potential seriousness of flu to call anything “flu-like.”

        There is no evidence yet to suggest that the new virus will wane when the weather changes. But of course Trump said it would, because he says things like that.

        Researchers are unsure about whether the death rate has been over-estimated due to untested mild cases, due to the ongoing problem with secrecy in China.

        International co-operation is so essential but the US has undercut its public health and biomedical research infrastructure and antagonized its allies.

        I’m in Canada. Our hospitals could also be overwhelmed and we have a great deal of international traffic, including every day with the United States.

      • Samanathalous says:

        Thank you! people are down playing it and just comparing it to the FLU. Lets see manufactured in China, spread across the globe, most likely cure found but manufactured in china as well. This is national security that over 50% of the worlds drugs are manufactured in china. This would make a great debate topic, if someone would just take the lead on this rather than orange hands telling us not to panic. You know its bad when orange hands is saying don’t panic.

      • Kk2 says:

        Pneumonia is a serious complication of flu, Which leads to a lot of flu related hospitalizations and deaths, so flu-like and pneumonia-like are not necessarily different. I think you have a point that calling it “flu-like” could minimize it, depending how seriously you take the flu. I personally take it seriously because in the US the flu is more dangerous right now than corona virus, especially for kids (I have 2 and they are my biggest concern.) And yes we don’t know if it will wane with flu season but I am hoping.

        I agree it’s hard to know what to make of China’s numbers. Luckily so far it appears the death rate outside of China is lower than that reported inside China, especially wuhan (probably for a variety of reasons in addition to shadiness).

        I just don’t think it’s helpful to operate from a place of anxiety over something you cannot control. And nothing yet takes me past place of moderate concern and into panic. I do think pandemic status is inevitable but I am hopeful that long term school/work closures will be avoided. Hopeful.

        I worry that the 24 hr news cycle/click bait environment we live in will cause disproportionate panic.

      • Mich says:

        @Smanthalous – Stop spreading misinformation. There is zero proof that it was manufactured. Experts believe it most likely originated with bats that were then sold in a live food market.

      • Samanathalous says:

        You can have your opinions on where you get your information from and I can have mine. I do not trust any government explanation when a viral infection begins to kill thousands.

        Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), could not definitively rule out the theory that the coronavirus was created in a laboratory.

        It’s ‘unlikely’ but possible.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I wouldn’t put my faith in anything Cuccinelli says. He’s a partisan loyalist and not an expert in this area. He says “unlikely” because he DOES NOT KNOW and doesn’t have the integrity to say so.

        Acting DHS Secretary Wolf said in testimony that this virus is just as deadly as the flu, but that is incorrect. The morality rate for this virus is 2.3% in China. The mortality rate for the flu in the US is 0.1%. HUGE difference. The fools don’t know the difference.

      • Kristina says:

        Thank you, @MICH. I can’t take the misinformation and minimization.

        The virus can cause respiratory failure- more properly decreased oxygen saturation- leading to progressive death.

    • PALady says:

      Peeps- epidemiologist here. The flu poses a much bigger threat to the US right now than the Coronavirus. Just putting that out there.

      • Amanduh says:

        So if the hospitals are at close to capacity because of the flu what happens when Covid-19 becomes widespread? Given your line of work I’m sure you are aware that around 15-20% of Cov-d19 cases become severe and need hospital interventions.

  5. Samanathalous says:

    I have a few theories that this is a man made virus and people should stop comparing it to the spanish flu already! Look at the numbers and the reports of those infected, those cured and those who have passed, it does not add up. Look at the videos and reports coming out from the early stages of reporting and I swear it was straight from a horror movie. I feel bad for those who have passed as we all try to understand and work with the science community to find a cure. I always keep medical supplies on hand, careful never to touch my face and travel with napkins and wet wipes to avoid touching doors and surfaces with my bare hands. I wipe and clean things such as my cell phone and computers. I did begin to stockpile things once I heard about it in January, when I knew people personally that were in Wuhan and managed to leave just before the travel ban.

    This is very dangerous for those with preexisting conditions, elderly and just about everyone. I hope everyone stays safe, for the nations that are less fortunate I also feel for them.

    • Samanathalous says:

      it is now being reported that cases in china that people being released after the quarantine are still showing the virus, so officials are not sure about the 14 day hold either.

      • Desdemona says:

        According to worldoometers info.. The incubation goes up to 27 days…

      • Elisa says:

        Yep, there is a case in Italy with an incubation of almost a month. This and the fact that the virus stays active way longer that other ones makes it so dangerous.

    • Dani says:

      I’m not a conspiracy theorist (I’ve said that way too much lately) but NYPost had a very interesting article about how the virus was made in a lab one mile away from the market where the contaminated animals were being sold, and that a few years ago, a tech from the lab was arrested for selling tested on animals on the black market to shops for a much lower cost.

  6. lemonylips says:

    That film was great. If anyone is in panic right now don’t watch it but I do suggest it. On the other hand this panic is not good. People need to get informed and read about how deadly it actually is(n’t). Flu has killed more people than Corona, including children where as rate of anyone under 80 yo of getting better is higher than common flu’s. What is happening in Italy right now shows that panic should be avoided at any cost. Wash hands, don’t touch your face and masks should only be worn by people who actually have a flu or certain symptoms.

    • bilingual says:

      The virus in Contagion had a much, much higher fatality rate though. I think most people who got it died. Vs 2% for COVID-19. And it liquefied people’s brains. They made it so extreme for theatrical effect. COVID-19 will have a strong economic impact but won’t be anything like Contagion.

  7. Rocķy says:

    I watched Contagen on the weekend. I wasn’t worried about the virus before but I’ll admit I’m a little freaked out now. Honestly though its probably not a bad idea to always take precautions in enclosed areas like that.

  8. babsjohnson says:

    I’m pregnant and very afraid to catch that sh.t. I live near the italian border…

  9. Mich says:

    I think it is perfectly reasonable to be worried. This virus is serious, we don’t know a whole lot about it, and the country that would usually lead the global response is helmed by an idiot who only cares about how it impacts him. So it feels like we are kind of on our own.

    Not ashamed to say that I’ve got an N95 mask and a box of replacement filters at the ready for when/if the virus starts taking off here in the US.

  10. Ash says:

    WHO has already said that masks are useless unless you’re the sick one or are taking care of someone who is sick, so…no, Gwyneth.

    • lucy2 says:

      But then she couldn’t get attention!

    • fluffy says:

      There is a difference between surgical masks and N95 8211 respirators. The respirators do help prevent one from catching this virus. One also needs goggles and gloves. Frequent hand washing is also helpful.

  11. MaryContrary says:

    Yesterday an official at the CDC said it very well could impact daily life in the near future, especially if they need to do school closures to contain the spread. She said she’d already contacted her kids’ school to ask what systems they have in place for teleschooling and suggested that other people do the same. The CDC doesn’t usually panic, so if they’re concerned, I’m concerned.

  12. CatWomen says:

    We don’t know how many cases the USA has it’s not being tested for yet. I figure it should be up pretty high by Sept. Oct just in time for the election. A Big Mess.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      It’s being tested for in areas that have accurate kits, which isn’t many and certainly not enough. If people have symptoms matching the virus, a doctor will test if possible. The problem is the lack of a testing infrastructure. The response needs to be centralized and money poured into needed supplies. Otherwise doctors will have to guess, true cases may slip by and false cases (flu, colds, pneumonia) could be over-treated or people quarantined without cause.

      A Big Mess, indeed.

      • Lightpurple says:

        If only we had something like a fully-staffed with qualified people, fully funded Center for Disease Control with fully staffed, fully funded pandemic units. Instead, we have a Fence of Hate and pictures of Ivanka’s Lavish World Tour.

  13. Aang says:

    I’ve got a teen in another state doing an internship where they interact with hundreds of people from all over the world on a daily basis. I’m a little worried and told them to contact me at the first sign of any cold, even if they think it’s just allergies. I’ll fly there to keep an eye on them and make sure they get medical attention straight away if needed.

  14. Trillian says:

    Forget the masks, they are not doing any good. Follow the same recommendations for preventing flu spread, mainly:

    And as usual, panic makes everything worse.

    • Nikki* says:

      Normally I agree that hand washing is the best, but there have been cases where the virus was definitely transmitted through air vents in buildings. Washing your hands won’t help that, alas. I am very worried by the 80 year old American woman who tested positive but travelled w/her husband through an international airport. The cat was then out of the bag, for it could have spread anywhere; guess we’ll be finding out where in a few weeks. I’m not panicked, but I’m definitely worried; I have very vulnerable baby grandkids and a pregnant daughter.

      • Trillian says:

        How is there proof of that? People touch things all the time and the virus can survive very long on surfaces.

      • Arpeggi says:

        Trillian: exactly! They don’t remember they went to the bathroom, picked up something the other person there dropped and most don’t properly wash their hands. So there’s no reason to panic and take every rumor for granted. It’s the problem with having so much information available and little scientific literacy: people start believing everything without screening for expertise first. It’s not helping

  15. Gil says:

    I’m near Tokyo and there are not masks left at the stores. Here masks are quite common specially during this season because pollen is everywhere. Luckily for me my husband always has a big big box of masks because he uses them everyday at the office (he says the a/c is nasty). At least I don’t have shamey stuff to deal with because here in Japan wearing masks is quite common. Wash your hands and disinfect everything, specially your cellphones. Let’s stay safe.

  16. MaryContrary says:

    I also wanted to add that the plain old flu is no joke either. One of my 11 year old’s best friends (very healthy kid) has been in the hospital for a week with the flu and complications from it. He almost died over the weekend-but appears to be improving, thank god.

    • Ali says:

      Seriously. I hope everyone freaking out about corona took the time to get the actual flu shot.

      • Desdemona says:

        Hi… The flu shot has no influence on the coronavirus.. Totally different things…

      • Trillian says:

        I think she knows that. It’s just that every year tens of thousands get the flu and thousands die from it and there is a vaccination available yet so many don’t bother. But everyone freaks out about corona.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Having the flu and also contracting the new virus could be a really serious situation, for patients and providers, so at least try to prevent what you can prevent.

        My daughter got flu only once – the year the jab was not available and she was given the spray gel up her nose. She was out of school for 2 weeks. Horrible cough.
        This is a kid who rarely catches a cold.

      • Desdemona says:

        Oh.. Probably misinterpreted what I read. I am a bit sleepy today.. 😊

      • detta says:

        I think this was meant to say that people freak out about the coronavirus, but do not freak out about the common flu (i.e. are not getting flu shots). When in fact the flu kills way more poeple every year, only most people with ‘normal’ health don’t give it much of a thought.
        Seriously people need to keep from panicking. That will make the situation worse on the economical level, but will not help with the virus situation. Instead of buying masks or stockpiling, use your common sense, like for example don’t sneeze in your hands and then touch handles on the bus or tube. When touching stuff in public, don’t touch your mouth or rub your eyes until you have thoroughly washed your hands.
        All of this should be done regardless of Covid-19, it helps preventing wider spread of flu and common cold and other viruses. Of course I can see why people with pre-conditions etc. are worried, but I would think it is always more difficult if your health is fragile in some way (and flu or other attacks on the human body can be just as dangerous as corona in that case).
        So far I am not really freaked out about this particular virus. I recently re-read “The Hot Zone” – which I first read in the late 90s and which I go back to every few years – and looking at something like Ebola lurking in the depth of some cave, I really hope that that virus will not adapt to humans better, i.e. learns not killing us quite as fast as it does, because then we would be in much graver danger of being wiped out.

    • lucy2 says:

      I just looked it up, the CDC estimates 16,000 deaths in the US from the flu this 2019/2020 season. People definitely don’t take that seriously enough, and yet are the ones now freaking out about COVID-19.
      There’s a really good article in the Atlantic. An old friend who is highly educated in pathobiology shared it, along with a few others. Basically, take it seriously, take precautions, be well stocked at home so if you do get ill you don’t go out and spread it further – basic cold and flu season stuff.

    • Nikki* says:

      My friend was a healthy 50 year old and died from the flu in a matter of days. I’ve taken it very seriously since then.

  17. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    Coming soon from Goop: a biosphere made of organic, recyclable hemp and woven unicorn hair that has been feng-shui’d for optimum coronavirus isolation. Includes vaginal steaming unit and optional vulva-decal.

    -Seriously: unless the masks are medical grade, don’t bother. Just stop with the international, unnecessary travel already.

  18. Annie says:

    Well I’m in Europe and someone died in my city ( she was old and had other health problems) so wish me good luck

    • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

      I’m in Britain, and we’ve had a number of cases too; expecting more imminently. My immune system is at rock bottom, so I’m worried too. Wish you the very best of luck, you and your family and loved ones and friends. Keep us updated

    • Bubbagirl says:

      I live in korea with 1500 confirmed cases. Honestly it’s hard to sympathize with americans panicking when its really bad over here.

  19. Samanathalous says:

    I bet she is one of the celebrities that has those secret bunkers, if you haven’t now is the time to buy stock in them if you can.

  20. Case says:

    I’m a little worried because I have a history of asthma and upper respiratory issues in general. I get the flu vaccine every year for this reason. It’s just freaky because this is a virus we don’t know much about and it seems to occasionally turn deadly when it shouldn’t be (in the cases of younger people).

    I’m supposed to travel to England in April for work. Not sure if I should talk to my boss about pulling out or if I should wait. Ugh.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      We’re looking at my husband’s business travel too — to the United States, but later this year to England. Will have to take it case by case. One major tech industry conference in Spain was already cancelled.

      With viruses that are hard on young, otherwise healthy people: That is concerning. My daughter, who is into this kind of thing, said it’s because (IIRC) they haven’t had time to build up immunity through exposure to this, that and the other thing. That’s what struck down many young adults in the 1918 flu pandemic, plus the virus found a host population of war-weakened young men, living in crowded conditions.

      The refugee and concentration camps around the world – the United States, Central Asia, China et al. – are really vulnerable.

      • Samanathalous says:

        You are correct there are 29 year olds that are dying from this that had no previous preconditions, its an organ failing virus.

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      You should not put yourself at higher risk with traveling. You are (as am I) already at higher risk for pulmonary complications of influenza and other viruses by being an asthmatic.

      I’m not going to mask shame anyone; that said, careful hand washing, keeping your distance from obviously sick people, and keeping your hands out of the holes on your face will go a long way to keeping you well.

      If we do need to start socking supplies away, remember pet needs stock- up as well.

    • Amelie says:

      Ask your boss at least what he/she plans to do if the coronavirus starts spreading seriously in the UK/where you live. That’s a conversation you should not put off so you can have a plan of action in case you need to cancel the trip. My mom was supposed to travel to London for work end of March and that has been canceled. All business trips at her company have been halted (she works for a major insurance company). She also has staff that works in Hong Kong and everyone’s been working from home and self quarantined for the last few weeks.

      My sister is supposed to go to India in a few weeks on a yoga retreat and I dunno if that is still going to happen, I wish she would reconsider going. The last call in the world I want to get is that she is quarantined in some hospital in India far away from family and friends.

  21. Luciana says:

    Honestly, this is probably the least insane thing GP has done so I’m not going to give her crap for it. I am worried as well, although not overly so. Maybe not even as much as I should be? I have a good friend whose immune system is compromised, so I am more worried about people in her position than I am for myself.

  22. Anna says:

    Y’all are late to the party. Masks are actually quite helpful to get some distance between yourself and the other folks on public transport. And hand sanitizer is always a good idea. Greetings from Bangkok!

    • detta says:

      Not mask shaming anyone either, do whatever you feel you need to do. BUT: Given the fact that basically no-one on overcrowded public transport in any European country I know wears masks you would think people here have dropped like flies over the past few decades. Which… has not been and is not happening.
      The only ones I sometimes see wearing a mask on bus, tube or tram are Asian people, and most wear the simple surgical masks with a loose fit which really does nothing other than preventing that they sneeze their stuff into the air. These in no way prevent a virus from being able to find an entry point into your system, you need to be aware of that.

  23. Valiantly Varnished says:

    She was patient zero in Contagion so it’s an apt reference. And the film plays out much like what is currently happening.

    Outside of that there is a lot of fear-mongering and panic going on and I think people need to calm TF down. The best way to prevent getting sick is the SAME way you avoid any other illness: wash your damn hands. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Dont touch your eyes and mouth.

    Basically all the things you SHOULD be doing during cold and flu season anyway.
    It’s scary but people need to have a bit of perspective here: 56,000 people die in the US of the FLU each year. We haven’t reached that level with COVID-19 yet and hopefully we will have a vaccine soon. But I personally am not interested in living afraid all the time because it’s pointless

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      I’m pretty much in this camp as well. Our purses, phones, keyboards, etc. should see some TLC, keep your hands to yourself and wash often. If you use them in public (ATMs, shopping, etc.), don’t touch your face and sanitize with that bottle you put in your purse or car. Make your school kids wash their hands the second they get home from school, and have them sanitize controllers, remotes and phones to get in some sort of habit. Wipe down door knobs, handles, taps, basically anything we touch. This really should become habit milling around the home anyway ya know? “Oh, I’m in the kitchen so I’ll wipe the fridge handle,’ crap like that lol. Common sense living.

      • ME says:

        LOL this is how I live ALL the time. I really honestly believe cell phones are causing the spread of many diseases. Most people never clean their phones. They eat while using them. Some even use them in the bathroom ! Some use them in bed at night then go to sleep with all those germs on their hands. It’s gross. Someone needs to invent a bacteria resistant phone lol.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Vaccines could take up to 12-18 months to develop, test, create and distribute. Soon we might be grateful for Big Pharma, which has the infrastructure to take this on.

      Science isn’t overnight.

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:


      • Ella3 says:

        If big pharma actually invests its profits in this rather than returning it to its shareholders, the vaccines will be extraordinarily and prohibitively expensive. Or, if the government funded the NIH and other medical researchers like it used to, the vaccine would be a public good accessible to all.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        No it isn’t. So people should be washing their hands and covering their mouths.

  24. Arpeggi says:

    Ok so I’m a trained virologist, I work in a university in the microbiology and immunology department and I’m not worried at all. Neither are my colleagues. Look, contagious infections happen and yes, people do/will die from them. But this coronavirus isn’t the plague, it’s not polio or measles: it can be dealt with somewhat easily. I’m worried about it spreading in countries with poor infrastructures where it can/will be deadly because the medical staff won’t be able to relieve the patients’ symptoms due to lack of O2 tanks or constant electricity to power all of the equipments needed to help those really incapacitated by their symptoms: cases in Syria or in Nigeria worry me, but in North America or Europe? It’ll be fine for the most of us.

    Economically though, it will be difficult. There’s a reason why companies offer flu shots to their employees and families: having a third of your staff sick at the same time will affect your productivity and capacity to deliver the goods on time. This is the main issue with this covid-19: a lot of people get sick at the same time and even if most won’t need to be hospitalized, they won’t be able to go to work because they are either sick and/or caring for a sick one. Personally, I’m not sure that this is necessarily a bad thing, it could force us to review how our economic systems work. We keep talking about reducing production and growth but aren’t acting on it, covid-19 might force us to slow everything down for a while and the planet might do better this way

    • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

      @Arpeggi The voice of reason. Thank you for your eminently commonsensical approach to the outbreak. What likelihood do you think exists that covid-19 COULD mutate into something that will indeed cause a pandemic; is the same statistical probability as for other new/existent viruses, and have you mapped out how it might mutate?

      • Arpeggi says:

        Covid-19 has everything it needs to reach pandemic status, but a pandemic doesn’t mean that everybody who’ll get it will be extremely sick and die. Flu is more dangerous. Because it’s 8 strands of RNA, it’s so common that different strains of influenza will be found within a same animal thus creating new strains during viral packaging which is exactly why we have new strains all the time and why some strains are more dangerous because we’ve never seen those combo before and haven’t built a proper immune response to them. It’s why we are always monitoring flu and why we’re always on the lookout for the impact of new strains.

        Point mutations that’ll totally change the infectiosity or reservoir of a virus are not common and from an evolutionary standpoint, they aren’t useful (if a parasite kills its host too efficiently it won’t be able to spread and will disappear): herpes hasn’t changed much ever since Hippocrates described it 2500 years ago, it took over 100 years for HIV to effectively infect humans (and thus become HIV), ebola, albeit impressive, is still pretty bad at infecting humans despite centuries of close contact; the only recent case of an “out of nowhere” change in how a virus behaves is Zika…

        If people want to freak out about an imminent threat to humanity, freak out about climate change: that’s really the most dangerous thing out there

      • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

        @Arpeggi Thank you so much for your response; I do not have a great understanding of virology (I’m a history teacher and writer) and relish/seek advice from those eminently qualified in their fields on a particular matter (rather than giving into all too easy panic/hysteria).
        I agree with you regarding climate change. The fact that the Republicans/AfD have weaponised the anti-Greta, packaging her as a climate ‘realist’, is deeply disturbing; misinformation is money for those who don’t wish to do anything to change their business practices, while the world burns…

    • detta says:

      @Arpeggi. Thank you so much for this post. And can I say, wow, you are a trained virologist! How cool is that. :-) After I had seen “Outbreak” back in the mid nineties I became interested in the subject of viruses and have read quite a lot about it. Utterly fascinating. Then something like 15 years ago I came down with a bad case of Epstein-Barr, which further fuelled my interest. Working in this field of science would have been something I would have loved (but I did not study anything in this area, so it is just a pet interest!).

      • Arpeggi says:

        I LOVED outbreak as a kid. Though scientifically, it’s complete BS, Contagion was actually better with the science and the paperwork involved and how boring/repetitive labwork actually is though everything did come together a little bit too quickly and neatly. But still, loved Outbreak and I really wanted to study ebola but didn’t want to move to Winnipeg to study it, so I studied herpes instead (EBV is a herpesvirus, like chickenpox and well, herpes: so much fun stuff to study!).

    • NA says:

      Arpeggi, thank you for your calm and measured post! I’ve been really battling with myself, feeling like it’s moderately worrying but not panic inducing but on the other hand feeling that I need to freak out and cancel everything everywhere. It’s hard to glean facts from the media these days….

      • Arpeggi says:

        TBH, I would probably be a little less cool about it all if I was living in a place with known cases (though I know it’ll come to my city at some point or another): I get it, it can seem scary and it’s natural to be scared. But my dad died of AIDS, and going through this taught me all I needed to know about mob behaviours and how important it is to take time to think before panicking out about something (my mom’s colleagues didn’t want to touch her phone, or merely be in the same room as her, even if she was HIV-neg because they were afraid of getting AIDS somehow, it was crazy! Children as it turns out were much more cool about it, my friends didn’t shun me like my mom’s colleagues did).

        I know it’s scary and hearing “well, we don’t actually understand anything right now, but, like, it should be fine” isn’t exactly reassuring, but as a specie, we’ve met worst foes. Economically though? Oh boy! This is likely going to hurt. And it’s the reason why countries are freacking out: the GDP matters, not your health

    • lucy2 says:

      Thank you! Both for what you do, and for your educated, intelligent, and well presented post here.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      Thank you for posting this with actual expert facts!

    • Elisa says:

      @Arpeggi: I wish I could upvote your post! Excellent!

  25. Samanathalous says:

    A publicly traded Chinese drug developer, BrightGene Bio-Medical Technology Co., said today it has successfully manufactured the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) of remdesivir (GS-5734), the Gilead Science antiviral candidate being tested in China human clinical trials as a treatment for the 2019-nCoV novel coronavirus.

  26. ME says:

    One thing people need to stop doing (and teach their kids to stop doing) is being scared to be around Asian people. I have heard way too many stories of all the racist sh*t Asians are dealing with now more than ever because of fear. STOP IT. There is a f*cking Tik Tok thing going around where you scream “It’s Corona Time” whenever you see anyone that looks remotely Asian. Disgusting !

    • detta says:

      Yeah, they reported about this in Germany, too. People say ‘so how are you doing over in China’ to someone from Vietnam who has been living in Europe for the past twenty years. WTF?? But of course this is what happens when people get panicky; top the underlying distrust for ‘foreign’ looking people – even if they have been born here and have a Bavarian accent – with stereotypes, misinformation and stupid panic reactions.

    • Samanathalous says:

      THIS!!! Also there was an attack on an Asian woman in NY, where they punched her and called her horrible names and accused her of spreading the virus, she did not want to press charges. I have never heard of the Corona time thing but it is disgusting.

  27. Scal says:

    Coronavirus isn’t a deadlier version of the flu-if anything it’s a deadly version of the common cold. They are totally separate virus Phylums. Orthomyxoviridae (influenza) vs. Coronaviridae (common cold, covid-19)

    And the fact that it’s related to the common cold is what makes it SO dangerous. 1) It’s more contagious than the common cold, and 2) people with healthy immune systems will either not have any symptoms or present as ‘just’ having a cold. People who think they have a cold don’t tend to stay home or avoid groups. So then you have people with the virus out and about infecting others and that’s how it goes to pandemic levels.

    Think about the things you can do to prevent getting a cold and practice those same methods. Wash hands, avoid touching your face, avoid crowds. Sadly, I think that’s the best any of us can do until this passes.

  28. Adr1s says:

    While I don’t like her, I think it is absolutely good. I saw a briefing where the researchers found out that it spreads though the lil water droplets that we spit when we talk and sneeze, so a mask and glasses are very good precautions

    • detta says:

      Viruses like those that cause flu or common cold (see the good post above for distinction) also travel in bodily fluids like when you sneeze. This is totally normal behaviour for a virus – it needs to get from one host to the next in order to survive and thrive. Hence the advice about not sneezing around, not sneezing into your hands and then touching things. After having touched things in public or around sick people, wash your hands, thoroughly and with soap (and yeah, clean your godd**n mobile phone and tablet).
      But the fact that Covid-19 travels via fluids is not a cause for panic. If it were airborne it might be a different story (someone with knowledge correct me if I am writing nonsense here, please!).

    • bilingual says:

      Also read it can survive on surfaces for as long as 9 days. I carry alcohol-based sanitiser everywhere and touch everything only with clean tissue or wipes that are quickly discarded.

  29. manda says:

    I never saw contagion except for the scene where it shows how her character, presumably patient zero, contracted the disease. That fascinates me, finding the source. I keep seeing news stories on tv or in the paper, imagining it as a montage in a movie that pre-empts the global apocolypse. I hope we get out of this ok

    • bilingual says:

      We’ll be fine. The fatality rate is about 2% apparently. It’s such a big deal because it’s a new thing and because of the economic impact, not because everyone’s going to die from it. However, because it’s so infectious, some Harvard researcher estimated up to 100 million deaths eventually (!!!).

  30. MellyMel says:

    This might one of the few times I won’t shade her. I saw Contagion when it came out (great movie by the way) and it was the first thing I thought of when this virus starting getting more serious. I’m worried as well and have started stocking up. Even if nothing happens, everything will get used and not go to waste. Also, the face masks might not help, but for my peace of mind I’m going to wear them if I need to travel or be in big crowds.

  31. zotsioltar says:

    I really think the economy decline will have a larger impact for most of us than the virus.

    I know that is crazy/selfish, but it only seems to be fatal for people that are old/young/compromised with another illness. Most of the people that catch it will feel awful for a week and our bodies will fight it.

    Will probably cause a recession.

  32. Louisa says:

    I just booked a trip to Florence last week for May as an early 50th for myself! Not sure what to do now.

    • Arpeggi says:

      Wait and see how things evolve, it really is all that you can do at the moment. It’ll likely be fine and you’ll be able to go, or due to the circumstances, getting a refund shouldn’t be too difficult. I’m going to Cuba in 3 weeks, 48hrs to Seattle in April for a training, a week in Philly in June for a conference: I’m not cancelling anything at the moment because there are no reasons to cancel.

    • lucy2 says:

      Did you purchase travel insurance? Hopefully all will be well and you’ll be fine to go, but on the slim chance you can’t, that would cover most of your expenses.

      I’ve bought it ever since I obliterated my ankle and had to cancel expensive theater tickets and a small vacation.

    • Dani says:

      You should be fine. If it doesn’t sort out by then, the airlines/hotels will refund you (happened with the PR earthquakes in January, my mom had the option for a full refund if a week from her date of departure it wasn’t all sorted). It’s not too late to purchase insurance, but a lot of credit cards have trip cancellation benefits, check yours.

  33. Thea says:

    The 95 & 99 masks have to be professionally fitted, I wonder if she got hers fitted.

    • bilingual says:

      She probably had half a dozen companies / service providers get in touch with her people to offer a fitting and a lifetime supply for her family and friends in exchange for an IG and blog promotion weeks ago . Is that a brand name on that mask?

  34. Mel says:

    Everyone is throwing out false information. Go to the WHO website and you’ll learn the best methods of prevention. A face mask will do nothing for you, doesn’t matter what kind it is. Hand washing, alcohol based hand sanitizer, keep a three foot distance between yourself and anyone coughing and sneezing. If you feel sick, GO TO A DOCTOR. There is no need to hoard food and water. If this hits , it’s the unnecessary panic that will make it much worse than it has to be.

    • bilingual says:

      That’s what they said a month ago: don’t wear masks as it won’t help and only infect people need to wear them. But now I’m coming across sources, as in high profile medical people, saying masks for non-infected could help because CO-19 might be spreading via teeny air droplets when someone sneezes.

      • Arpeggi says:

        Of course the virus is spread through droplets when sneezing/coughing/breathing! That’s how any respiratory virus spreads, that’s how the common cold spreads too, there’s nothing utterly worrisome there. But masks won’t help. For one thing, it’s difficult to keep a mask well fitted, the masks are also uncomfortable: I know personally that I can’t help but fidget with them when I have to wear one at work, so I end up with my hands in my face more often than without. So washing your hands frequently and cleaning surfaces (coronaviruses are sensitive to the common disinfectants) is really more effective than face masks.

        A mask for a sick person that has to go outside could help reduce the risks of transmission (cuz you cough on yourself, yuk!), but so is coughing in your elbow and avoiding spitting on the ground

      • bilingual says:

        Well, as some poster said upthread, certain masks offer 95, 99%, whatever coverage (as in prevent exposure to airborne particles) when you do follow the instructions for fitting. That’s not “do nothing for you.” I’ve read medical doctors advising masks could help after all. Initially they said no. Also the NYT is saying keeping 6 metres away from others is ideal.

  35. bilingual says:

    Yes, it’s going to be bad. But they’re desperate to get back to business as usual plus big pharma companies are looking to cash in big time so I’m fairly confident about predicting a vaccine will be available within months or by the end of the year at the very latest.

    According to Indian researchers and then others there’s no doubt this thing was engineered in a lab. Others have reported it possibly got out as some lab scientists like to supplement their income by selling live experimental animals to live food markets for slaughter. Strange world we live in. I have no clue. But the vaccine is likely going to be reality soonish.

    • Samanthalous says:

      For the masks I think they mean those paper ones, and at the prices masks are going now $109 a box on amazon? This really has woken a lot of people up to the need to prep for these types of situations.

    • Arpeggi says:

      I’ll finally say it because I’m tired of seeing lies being spread but no, covid-19 was not engineered in a lab, please stop spreading right-wing nuts lies! Do you really think us scientists have time for that?!?! We haven’t studied for decades and work underpaid to try to kill people and nature’s already pretty good at throwing bugs at us (smallpox, the pleague, flu…). There’s also no reason for the Chinese gov to make its own citizens ill and slow down its economy. If something sounds like a thing Rush Limbaugh might say, then you know it’s likely untrue.

      Diseases happen, in all likelihood covid-19 had been around for a bit actually and we’ve only started to notice it (I’m basing this on our knowledge of Zika, HIV and other emerging viruses). I wouldn’t put too much hope on a vaccine within a year either, there are no vaccines for SARS or MERS yet. But good everyday hygiene practices, something that is free and available to all, works well.

  36. Veronica S. says:

    My friend just moved to LA and wore a mask, even as she cringed doing it because she hated being That Person. Some people can’t afford to be “sick for a bit,” especially if they suffer from immune deficiency. The recovery period ain’t no joke, either. I had the flu earlier this year (even after vaccination – an outrage!), and it knocked me – a healthy adult – completely out for a week and took an additional two weeks for my lungs to fully recover. Coronavirus is a nastier version, and as somebody who travels for their job, it has me nervous.

    I find performative fear to be pretty gross when people are dying, but….I get why people are scared. The size of the United States and its lack of nationalized healthcare can easily be a recipe for serious pandemic.

  37. Arpeggi says:

    Yeezus! Agent Orange gave the lead to Pence, the guy whose policies while he was Governor directly led to an increase of HIV infections in Indiana. I’d be so pissed if I was working at the CDC right now (well, I’d have been pissed for the past 3 years, there’s a reason why I’m not working in the US).

  38. Tpoe says:

    All mass hysteria aside I gotta say I’m not freaking out about this. The fatality rate is about 2% and most people who get the disease end up with mild symptoms. SARS, by comparison, had a fatality rate of almost 10% and we got through that just fine. I definitely think people with underlying conditions or the very old or young need to take extra care, but as for the rest of us, just maintain proper hand hygiene and don’t touch your face, just like we do every flu season.

  39. Dani says:

    I haven’t read half of the comments but everyone needs to understand that the masks are FOR THE PEOPLE INFECTED WITH THE VIRUS, to prevent spread. Healthy people don’t need to wear the masks. Also, the masks need to be fit and tested by a healthcare professional so going out, buying it and putting it on doesn’t help you any more than not wearing it. My kids ped sent out a very informative e-mail: treat it like the flu – wash your hands constantly, don’t touch your face, don’t touch unnecessary surfaces, if you feel sick don’t go to work and go to the doctor right away. It is likely to hit the US but there is no need for mass hysteria. They aren’t showing that with the 3k deaths, there have been over 22k recoveries. They aren’t showing that mortality is mostly in people over 70 or immunocompromised people. There are numerous medications available to us that help with treatment (one of them being the HIV treatment). Be careful, plan accordingly, but don’t worry yourself to death.

    • bilingual says:

      There’s no harm in wearing a mask, specifically to stop yourself touching your face as we do it unconsciously, even if you’re not infected, and as long as you change it regularly (germs/viruses accumulating inside damp mask).

  40. Kittycat says:

    The third person Paltrow usage is probably for the alliteration.

  41. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    She’s probably eating other peoples’ placentas.