Once people started staying home to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, suggestions to watch Contagion started showing up in my Facebook newsfeed. It was inevitable, I suppose, though I’ve been reminded why I’ve not seen it. I’m not exactly relishing living through a pandemic, and don’t feel the need to watch one on-screen. That said, the film has a fantastic cast, and they were asked by the Mailman School of public health at Columbia University to participate in PSAs encouraging people to stay home. That one above includes Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Marion Cotillard and Jennifer Ehle. The cast recommends washing your hands, practicing social distancing, listening to scientists and doctors, and helping vulnerable people in your area. They also emphasize that other generations have been asked to do extraordinary things. [via Yahoo]
There are also extended PSAs from most of the featured castmembers, including Kate Winslet showing how to effectively wash your hands and disinfect surfaces, Matt Damon and Laurence Fishburne on the importance of social distancing and flattening the curve, and Jennifer Ehle on the nature of the virus, how vaccines work and when we might expect one. She recommended that we listen to the experts and tune “out the voices with other agendas, no matter how powerful they might be.” She also reminds us about the seriousness of other epidemics we’ve found vaccines for, including polio and smallpox.
Noticeably absent from the PSAs is Gwyneth Paltrow. Her ex, Chris Martin, found a few minutes to perform live for followers on Instagram, but Gwyneth was too busy to participate in a group PSA I guess. To her credit, she’s encouraged folks to stay home and to stay apart from each other when they go outside. She’s also donating 25% of Goop profits to Direct Relief, which is providing assistance to medical personnel.
The cast of Watchmen also filmed a PSA about handwashing. Both PSAs are useful and not alarmist, which will be more helpful the longer this goes on, and the more anxious people get. Jennifer Ehle has read snippets of Pride and Prejudice in her Instagram stories, which was fun. Maybe Gwyneth can read to people from one of her cookbooks, if she has the time.
Note by Celebitchy: I recently watched this incredible talk by Dr. Dave Price, a pulmonary and critical specialist at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, on how to protect yourself and your family. It gave me so much hope. He said that you can go to the store without fear, as long as you wash your hands and don’t touch your face, because the only way the virus spreads is by touching your face or being in close contact with someone with it. He recommends wearing a mask in order to train yourself not to touch your face. I’ve been wearing a bandana out to the store for this reason. He also talks about what to do if your loved one gets sick, when you should go to the hospital and if you should get tested. He says to only go to the hospital if you feel short of breath. Don’t just go to the hospital if you have COVID, and don’t get tested if tests aren’t readily available in your area.