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Athletes, celebrities preach social distance


Coronavirus is officially a world wide pandemic and the news, not just in America, but across the world, is grim. Sports are basically over for the foreseeable future. Countries have closed their borders, instituted lockdowns and shuttered bars and restaurants all in the hope of flattening the curve of the virus.

This is, without a doubt, a serious global health crises and yet it still seems that a lot of people, whether they’re just young and careless or old and stubborn, or just bros who work in sports, aren’t taking it seriously.  Even as governments ban public gatherings and issue shelter in place orders, people are out and about, living their lives, much like the beach goers in Jaws, unaware of the danger that lurks just beneath the surface.

To stem the wave of indifference, athletes and celebrities have used their cultural capital to promote not just social distancing but good, old-fashioned hand washing.  I don’t think anyone predicted hand-washing videos as the new viral trend, but yet, here we are. Not only is the Red Cross doing TikToks about proper hand washing technique (20 seconds, lots of soap, hot water), but so is Mariah Carey.

 

There’s also this gem, from icon Gloria Gaynor, singing her hit “I Will Survive,” which takes on an entirely new and very literal meaning.

And one from the Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman, who got publicly shamed into recording a second hand-washing video after his first one was a bust.

Or this one from the Winter Solider, Sebastian Stan, aggressively singing Happy Birthday.

And one from The Killers front man Brandon Flowers, doing it to the tune of Mr. Brightside.

Hand washing videos feel totally unnecessary,  yet they are also something I just can’t stop watching. I know how to wash my hands! Even before all these public PSAs I was an adult that practiced good hygiene. Still, there’s something weirdly soothing about the excessive amount of soap Stan uses or the intense way Flowers stares into the mirror while he lathers up.  It’s good to see other people, especially those with money and fame and symmetrical faces, taking this [expletive] seriously.

We shouldn’t need famous faces to convince us hand washing and social distancing are a good idea, but we’re at a point in public discourse where a lot of people trust celebrities and athletes more than they do public figures. In a climate where misinformation is rampant and government officials contradict the advice of health departments and the President himself won’t give clear answers on issues of public health and safety, is it any surprise that there’s a lot less friction in just listening to Ariana Grande, Steph Curry or Mariah Carey?

Watching a bunch of famous people do something as boring and tedious as wash their hands for the full 20 seconds is an odd way to ease anxiety, but it’s a lot cheaper than therapy or medication.  Right now, no one knows what’s going to happen next. The next couple of weeks are going to show us how well or ill prepared we are for the worst of the pandemic to hit.  We don’t have control over a lot, but one thing we can do is wash our damn hands. Remember,  20 seconds, some soap and a lot of hot water.  The singing is optional.





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Written by pfwid

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