Stars of Contagion movie dish out COVID-19 advice
Stars of the movie Contagion have issued a series of public service announcements urging people to wash their hands and practice social distancing.
Working with scientists from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, they hope to dispel misinformation and fake news around the pandemic.
The actors spent time with some of the most important public health officials in the world while preparing for their roles in the 2011 thriller.
Damon, who played someone who was immune to the virus, says in his short video that he doesn’t expect to have the same luck with coronavirus.
He tells fans: “That was a movie. This is real life. I have no reason to believe I’m immune to COVID-19 and neither do you, no matter how young you are.
“You can literally sit on your sofa or chair and save a life… Now is the time to spend all the time you want staring at your phone or tablet, and if anyone gives you a hard time about it tell them not to bother you because you are saving lives.”
He adds: “Other generations have been asked to do extraordinary things, we’re being asked to just stay at home. We got this. Please, let’s respect and protect our elders.”
Winslet, who played an epidemiologist trying to stop the spread of the virus, says the advice she was given by experts while filming was “wash your hands like your life depends on it”, adding “because right now, it just might”.
The British star concludes her video by saying: “Right now, the health of our society is quite literally in your hands.”
Fishburne, who played a doctor at the centre for disease control, warns that most people will know someone affected by the virus very soon.
He says: “Our public health officials are telling us that the virus could affect as many as half of us in the coming months.”
The 2011 Steven Soderbergh film follows a deadly infection that spreads quickly around the world, causing a breakdown in society.
The film has seen a huge surge in downloads following the pandemic.
French actress Marion Cotillard, who plays a doctor who works for the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the film, said there were two possible outcomes in relation to the current outbreak.
Cotillard lives in France which is several days ahead of America and the UK in terms of the virus spread.
She said there are two possible futures – one where people listen to experts and the medical systems are able to cope, and one where people refuse to heed scientific advice.
Cotillard adds that “unnecessary numbers will die” if people don’t listen, and “in that scenario, we waste time blaming each other and racism and misinformation do more damage to our society than the virus ever could”.
British actress Jennifer Ehle, who played a scientist who helped discover a vaccine in the film, also urged people to listen medical experts.
Ehle says: “That means tuning out the voices with other agendas, no matter how powerful they might be.”
She concluded: “Paranoia is a kind of virus as well. It requires fear and misinformation to spread. And we don’t need scientist to cure that, just compassion and common sense… Stay informed, stay healthy, stay home.”