in

Harnessing the Power of Celebrities Against COVID-19


As I sat in my office scouring the internet for stories about celebrity illnesses to write about for this column, it became abundantly clear that there were no stories except for those about COVID-19. But I also noticed that the news was not devoid of stories where celebrities were playing a role in the COVID-19 battle. So, I began to sort out the many ways that the “Power of Celebrity” is being harnessed in the war against the coronavirus. Here are a few ways that entertainment figures and other celebrities are helping:

As Examples of COVID-19 Patients

A few celebrities who have tested positive for COVID-19 have shared their illness journeys. Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson contracted the coronavirus while working in Australia. Their symptoms were somewhat mild; they reported initially feeling “a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches.” Rita also had “some chills that came and went,” as well as “slight fevers.” They stressed that they would remain in isolation and posted updates on their recovery on social media to hopefully allay fears of those anxious about the pandemic. They returned home to Los Angeles at the end of March.

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo (brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo) also came down with COVID-19. He isolated himself in his basement (to protect his family) and continued to host his daily show from there. Although he claims he is “doing well,” he admits that he has been running a fever on and off and that his symptoms are worse at night. He also reported that he has lost 13 pounds in the previous 3 days. “I’m just sweating it out and it’s the sickness,” he said. Chicken soup has helped. B.S. on the internet hasn’t helped. “Fake pills, fake tonics… I think we have to be very careful about people preying on desperation,” he said.

Chris even made a cameo appearance at Gov. Cuomo’s press briefing. The governor told his brother: “I do believe this is going to be a great public service in an ironic way…. You living it, showing it… doing the show, reporting on how you feel…. I think it demystifies this,” the governor said. “It takes a lot of the unknown out of the equation. And I know it’s a terrible unfortunate circumstance for you but think about it from a journalistic point of view, a public service point of view. You are answering questions for millions of Americans.”

As Monetary Donors

Celebrities such as J.J. Watt, Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, Ciara, and Russell Wilson have donated money to food banks. Jeff Bezos has committed to donate $100 million to support those facing food insecurity. Oprah Winfrey has pledged $10 million to coronavirus relief efforts.

Celebrity foundations including Rhianna’s Clara Lionel Foundation donated $1 million towards COVID-19 response, and that was matched by Jay-Z’s Shawn Carter Foundation.

Sports figures, such as Zion Williamson and Kevin Love, are donating money to support furloughed arena workers at the venues where they can no longer play.

Others have offered their services to act as fundraisers. Elton John hosted a Living Room Concert that featured Billie Eilish, Mariah Carey, the Backstreet Boys, and Alicia Keys. It raised $8 million. In addition, Rosie O’Donnell did a live benefit for the Actor’s Fund to support actors put out of work by closed theatres.

As Supply Donors

Money isn’t the only thing celebrities are donating. LVMH, the conglomerate that owns luxury brands such as Christian Dior and Givenchy, turned its supply of hydroalcoholic gel over to French authorities for production of hand sanitizer.

New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft sent the team plane to China, returning with 1.4 million N95 protective masks for the state of Massachusetts and another 300,000 for New York state. The New York Post put aside team rivalry and put a big “Thank You, Pats” on its front page (something “we thought we’d never say”).

As calls for more protective gear grew louder at hospitals around the country, medical TV shows including “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Good Doctor,” and “The Resident” donated their own real hospital supplies, such as masks, gowns, and gloves, to local hospitals.

Adding Expertise and Supporting Research

When it comes to adding expertise to the COVID-19 discussion you have to think of Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates. One of the key missions of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is combating infectious disease, working with partners to provide effective vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics to those who need it most around the world. He wrote an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, outlining his views on the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the Foundation has recently teamed up with Wellcome and Mastercard to launch COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator with a mission to “play a catalytic role by accelerating and evaluating new and repurposed drugs and biologics to treat patients with COVID-19 in the immediate term, and other viral pathogens in the longer-term.”

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative — founded by pediatrician Priscilla Chan, MD, and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg — has a number of programs supporting COVID-19 testing, research, and treatment. One of these programs, called CORD-19 (for COVID-19 Open Research Dataset) will act as a repository for new and archival publications in a format that is easily accessible for data analysis, thus sharing vital information across scientific and medical communities.

Entertaining the Housebound

Another area where celebrities are pitching in during the pandemic is by providing content to entertain all of us stuck at home. The Metropolitan Opera has nightly streaming of encore performances of the Live in HD series available for free.

Many celebrities, such as Dave Matthews, Niall Horan, John Legend, and Jennifer Hudson have posted free mini-concerts from their homes. Chris Martin launched a new virtual concert series called Together At Home: WHO-Global Citizen Solidarity Sessions in partnership with the World Health Organization and Global Citizen. Other at-home concerts can be found here.

Late-night hosts have taken to making at-home versions of “The Daily Show,” “The Tonight Show,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” They come complete with show logos and guest name cards provided by the hosts’ children. Stephen Colbert did one of his shows from his bathtub, complete with bubbles.

Even singer Lizzo has gotten into the act, providing meditation videos.

Helping Parents and Kids at Home

Other celebrities have been looking for ways to help parents cope with having the children at home 24/7. For example, “Frozen” star Josh Gad is reading books to children (or adults who have no children — “no judgment,” he says). Amy Adams and Jennifer Garner launched Save With Stories, where celebrities read to children while raising money for @savethechildren and @nokidhungry.

Making PSAs and as Social Influencers

A multitude of celebrities have been making public service announcements, telling us to wash our hands and to observe social distancing. Quartz ranked 17 of these PSAs and graded them according to three criteria: value of information, creativity, and delivery.

Michele R. Berman, MD, and Mark S. Boguski, MD, PhD, are a wife and husband team of physicians who have trained and taught at some of the top medical schools in the country, including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Washington University in St. Louis. Their mission is both a journalistic and educational one: to report on common diseases affecting uncommon people and summarize the evidence-based medicine behind the headlines.

Last Updated April 07, 2020





Source link

What do you think?

Written by pfwid

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading…

0

Comments

0 comments

Blake Shelton, Pink & Sofia Vergara: Celebrities share quarantine haircuts

Celebrities keep saying, ‘We’re all in this together.’ But Lady Gaga isn’t so sure