Robert DeNiro: the pandemic is like 9/11, ‘It feels the same… it happened too fast’

Oscars 2020 Arrivals

For weeks, I’ve seen New Yorkers compare the city’s quarantine lockdown and mortality rate to 9/11. While I think a quarantine and a terrorist attack are very different things, the comparison is definitely there: the air of tragedy, the sadness, the fear and anxiety, the empty city streets, the collapse of local businesses. Robert De Niro is now making that comparison too – he spoke to CNN last Friday about what’s been happening:

Robert De Niro is painting a picture of what it is like to live in New York City — the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. The actor, 76, spoke to CNN’s Jake Tapper on Friday in which he bluntly stated he was unimpressed by the delayed response the federal government had to address the virus, although he praised New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“I wish that people, the government had acted earlier,” De Niro said via Deadline. “They had enough warning. Because we would not be at this stage of this pandemic, I think, if that had happened.”

De Niro compared the feel of the to 9/11, saying, “It feels the same, except this is like something we see in a movie. It happened too fast. It’s unreal to see every big city in the world just sort of empty. You only see that in a movie, and it’s happening to us.”

De Niro did praise Cuomo, 62, telling Tapper the governor was “doing a great job. It’s so refreshing to see him speak and take charge, no matter what happens. He took action. I think he’s great. He’s a New Yorker. Italian-American. I understand him without him having to say too much.”

[From People]

“Except this is like something we see in a movie.” 9/11 felt like a movie too – those terrifying images of the burning towers, the people covered in ash as they ran from the collapsing towers. And now this, the empty city streets save for a handful of people scurrying around in face masks. As I get older, I’m less interested in seeing superhero movies or action-dramas destroy cities, and all of the dystopian sh-t freaks me out because it’s starting to feel way too real.

Robert DeNiro at arrivals for Variety’...

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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3 Responses to “Robert DeNiro: the pandemic is like 9/11, ‘It feels the same… it happened too fast’”

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  1. Laalaa says:

    I remember coming home from school (European time zone) and turning the tv on to watch my favourite tv show while talking to my mum when I said – what happened to the tv, every channel is showing the same movie?!
    At that moment the second plane crashed into the tower.
    Yeah, the world we live in. Terrifying.

    • nb says:

      I was in high school in Home Economics class when they came over the loudspeaker to tell everyone to turn on the news. We all watched the second plane hit together. It was so surreal and yes it seemed like a movie. They sent us home early and I watched the coverage with my Mom and we both cried. When my Dad got home from work he went to sit in line to buy extra gasoline because everyone was worried there wouldn’t be any when they needed it, like what people did with TP recently.

      The world today is similarly surreal. I keep thinking I’m in a weird bad dream and I’ll wake up tomorrow and everything will be back to normal. The world is so different in such a short amount of time. I think I’ve been going through the 7 stages of grief at the loss of the world I knew and the loss of the things I thought I had planned that now will not happen.

  2. Chloe says:

    I was a high school senior on Long Island when 9/11 happened. I don’t live in NY anymore (because LI is a Fox News fever dream of racism, antisemitism, and grievance politics), but this does and it doesn’t feel like 9/11. 9/11 blindsided us all and made us feel unsafe from an enemy that we could “see.” Covid-19 evokes the same emotions of tragedy and loss, but we knew it was coming and is scary because we have no idea who it is coming for.

    Also, in New York after 9/11, there was a real feeling of patriotism, putting partisan politics aside, and helping each other out. There is none of that now. My MAGA family in Suffolk County, LI aren’t at #endthequarantine level of protests yet but they are “so happy” that Trump is working so hard to help get the economy back open. They are two Hannities away from protest-level at any time, though, I am sure. I was only 17, but I don’t remember 9/11 getting polarizing until a year had passed and we went to war/the Truthers started. Someone please correct me if those feelings existed earlier; I just remember the feeling of unity then that we do not have now.