Celebs are people, too — people that get infected by the coronavirus, people that are scared of it, and of course, people who sometimes say dumb things about stuff they don’t completely understand.
Here are some highlights of what’s going on in the celeb world in these pandemic-tinged times.
Who’s tested positive
One of the earliest and biggest celebs to test positive for the virus were Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, who were in Australia earlier this month to film an Elvis Presley biopic. They’ve since been released from hospital and are recovering at home — they’ve also said that they are proof that sheltering in place works, since they won’t infect anyone else.
Hawaii Five-0 star Daniel Dae Kim also tested positive several days ago. Kim gave fans an update on his condition in a 10 minute video on Instagram, which he used as an opportunity to speak against anti-Asian racism.
“Yes, I’m Asian, and yes, I have coronavirus — but I did not get it in China. I got it in America — in New York City,” he said.
“Despite what certain political leaders want to call it, I don’t consider the place where (the virus) is from as important as the people who are sick and dying,” he added — clearly calling out US President Donald Trump’s insistence in referring to the disease as the ‘Chinese virus’.
And while not a celeb (at least not one of positive repute), convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein was recently tested positive for the virus while in prison.
Who’s said the dumbest things
Just because you’re famous doesn’t mean you’re right.
01 | It’s just, like, a virus
We understand that millennial nihilism is a thing, but Vanessa Hudgens’ recent statements on the coronavirus cross the line into insensitivity.
“Even if everybody gets it, like yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible… but inevitable?” she said during a now-deleted Instagram Live video last Monday.
Earlier that day, US President Donald Trump announced that the pandemic could stretch into July and August, to which Hudgens also said: “Yeah, till July sounds like a bunch of bullsh–, I’m sorry. It’s a virus, I get it. I respect it.”
Given that the virus has hit all 50 states in America and killed over 14,000 people in the last few months alone, it’s not too big of an ask to get Hudgens to take the virus a little more seriously.
02 | Misguided attempts at being ‘woke’
Looks like things are still #BusinessAsUsual for starlet Evangeline Lily, who seems not to have received the memo of self-isolation or social distancing that, well, the whole world has gotten. When one fan asked Lily if her family would be under ‘house arrest’ because of the virus, she said: “Not for this family.”
She added: “There’s ’something’ every election.”
“Some people value their lives over freedom, some people value freedom over their lives,” she says, channeling some misplaced inner yogi guru. “We all make our choices.” That’s good and all, but perhaps you shouldn’t be making those choices if they could — you know — potentially infect and kill someone.
03 | Straight up being a boor
There are perhaps more apt ways to describe NBA player Rudy Gobert, but we’ll let his actions speak for themselves. The Utah Jazz player made headlines earlier this month when he mocked coronavirus fears at a press conference by purposefully touching every mic and recorder in his vicinity; he tested positive for the virus less than two days later. (To his credit, he’s making up for the gaffe through a US$500,000 donation to Covid-related relief efforts in Utah, Oklahoma City, and to his native France.)
On to more cheery news, because being a celeb shouldn’t preclude you from being a decent human being.
01 | Charitable donations
Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation has donated $5 million to numerous organisations and coronavirus relief efforts, including The World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and the International Rescue Committee. She’s also committed funds to help accelerate testing and provide protective equipment for health workers in countries like Malawi and Haiti.
On March 16, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds revealed that they will be donating $1million to Feeding America and Food Banks Canada. (In typical Reynolds style, he captioned his post by saying: ‘I think we can all agree, Covid-19 is an asshole.’)
Fashion maven Donatella Versace donated 200,000 euros to Milan’s San Raffaele Hospital, located in one of the hard-hit areas of northern Italy.
Closer to home, Oscar-winning director Bong Joon-ho and BTS member Suga (who were both born in Daegu, the epicentre of the virus in South Korea) collectively donated over $164,000 toward relief efforts in South Korea.
02 | Soothing tunes
As more people find themselves cooped up at home with cabin fever and ever-growing fears over the virus, some celebs have pitched in to provide much-needed levity.
John Legend recently streamed an hour-long ‘concert’ held in his living room on Instagram Live (accompanied by wife Chrissy Teigen perched on his piano in a bath towel, showing us that even celebs like being comfy at home). Meanwhile, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin did the same for fans as he toggled between his guitar and piano to play some of the band’s biggest hits.
03 | A helping paw
But sometimes you don’t need astronomical sums of money to help, as Arnold Schwarzenegger and his four-legged friends have proved.
Like many other celebs, Schwarzenegger now finds himself biding his time while quarantined at home — but instead of griping, he and his coterie of animal friends offer useful advice and some much-needed comfort to those concerned about the virus.
In one video, Schwarzenegger encourages people to ‘listen to the experts and ignore the morons’ while accompanied by his miniature pony Whiskey and donkey Lulu.
“I tried to do a hand-washing tutorial for Cherry but I think you guys will pay more attention,” he says in another video, where he demonstrates good hygiene to his bewildered Yorkie.
“Be safe. Wash your hands. Listen to scientists and experts, not foreheads,” he adds. “Together, we can slow this down and protect each other.”