As the world hunkers down in the fight against COVID-19, celebrities all over the world are using their platform to plead with fans to social distance.
Many celebrities have tested positive for the virus. One of the first big celebrity cases to break was Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, who were working on a movie in Australia. They both self isolated for a week, and reportedly felt much better. Tom Hanks hosted the Saturday Night Live at Home show on April 11, but did not appear in any sketches.
“Stay safe, we are in this for the duration,” Hanks said in his SNL monologue. “We will get through this together.”
The list of infected celebrities include:
- Actors Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson
- Actor Idris Elba
- Musician Pink and her 3 year old son
- CNN anchor Chris Cuomo
- Lost Actor Daniel Dae Kim
- Prince Charles
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
- Actress Debi Mazar
- Rapper Brad “Scarface” Jordan
- Talk show host Andy Cohen
- Utah Jazz NBA player Rudy Gobert
- Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant
- U.S. Senator Rand Paul
- Convicted sexual assaulter Harvey Weinstein.
COVID-19 has also claimed the lives of many celebrities.
- Manu Dibango, best known for his 1972 hit “Soul Makossa” died on March 24.
- Terrence McNally, a playwright, died March 24.
- Floyd Cardoz, the chef behind NYC restaurants Tabla and Bombay Bread Bar, died March 25.
- Mark Blum, an actor, best known for playing opposite Madonna in the film “Desperately Seeking Susan,” passed away March 26.
- Ken Shimura, a Japanese comedian died March 27.
- Country singer Joe Diffie, who had a string of hits in the 1990s died March 29.
- Alan Merrill, a singer-songwriter who co-wrote the Joan Jett banger “I Love Rock and Roll” died March 29.
- Andrew Jack, an actor and British dialect coach, died March 30.
- Julie Bennett, an actress and talent agent, died March 31.
- Adam Schlesinger, a musician known for the hit “Stacy’s Mom”, and a member of Fountains of Wayne died April 1.
- Wallace Roney, a Jazz trumpeter died on April 1.
- Sergio Rossi, a designer, died April 3.
- Actor Jay Benedict, who appeared in “Aliens” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” passed away April 4.
- Lee Fierro, an actress and teacher, best-known as Alex Kintner’s mom in “Jaws” died April 5.
- John Prine, a Grammy winning folk and country singer songwriter, passed away on April 7.
- Allen Garfield, Veteran actor, a mainstay of 1970s films such as “The Conversation” and “Nashville,” died on April 7.
- Legendary Jazz saxophonist Lee Konitz, died April 15 after contracting coronavirus.
- Hal Willner, the SNL music producer, died on April 7 with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Past and current SNL staff members joined together on SNL’s at home show on April 11 to pay tribute to Willner.
Throughout this pandemic, celebrities have also been making personal donations to fans affected by the virus, and organizations who are helping to support people in this time. SNL star, Micheal Che, who lost his grandmother to COVID-19, contributed by paying one months rent to all 160 residents in his grandmother’s old apartment building.
“I know that’s just a drop in the bucket. So I really hope the city has a better plan for debt forgiveness for all the people in public housing, AT THE VERY LEAST,” Che wrote in an Instagram post about his donation.
Using their huge social media platforms, celebrities are trying to spread hope to their audiences. Many musicians are performing mini concerts on Instagram Live, taking requests and talking with their fans. With everyone at home and spending more time on the internet, Youtubers are spreading more content. Youtubers are skilled in creating good, low cost content without a lot of high technology and without a whole lot of interaction with other people.
One example of this are The Try Guys- a company and channel on Youtube. During the pandemic, they closed their offices and moved home to continue to put out content for their fans. One of their members, Zach Kornfeld, has an autoimmune disease ankylosing spondylitis, and is at higher risk for COVID-19. Kornfeld recently put out a video pleading with fans to stay inside and detailing exactly why he was terrified of getting coronavirus.
“In Italy, Doctors had to make the terrible choice who was worthy of those life saving ventilators and who wasn’t. Because there simply aren’t enough ventilators to go around,” Kornfeld said in his video, posted to the Try Guys channel on April 8. “So I am left to wonder, if I, or someone like me, were to be hospitalized and they saw that I was immunosuppressed, what would they do? If they had one ventilator for two people, would they decide that I’m not worth it. It makes me worry.”
On April 18, Global Citizen teamed up with Lady Gaga, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, and many other musicians and celebrities to put on One World Together At Home, a national concert, connecting celebrities and musicians from all over the world. The show also included messages from nurses, doctors, and thank you messages to all working on the frontlines. The concert raised 127 million dollars, which will be split between the WHO and charities working to combat the virus.
Using their fame, money, and connections, celebrities are bringing hope to the millions of people stuck at home and out of work. In times of uncertainty and sadness, celebrities are working hard to make people smile, even for just a moment.