The celebrity response to coronavirus has been all over the place. Pop stars like Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift and Camila Cabello pled with fans to stay home and chastised those ignoring calls to practice social distancing.
Meanwhile, Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk Rock N’ Roll Steakhouse in Nashville, Tennessee, refused to close its doors (at least for a little while) despite orders to do so from the city’s mayor, calling the mandate to shutter bars and restaurants “unconstitutional.”
Stars like Naomi Campbell and Howie Mandel have gone out in public lately wearing head-to-toe hazmat suits. Dr. Ashish K. Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, called their coronavirus couture “fun,” but added that “from a safety and hygiene point of view, it's a little bit of a disaster.”
Experts say not to wear a mask unless you’re sick or caring for someone who is, but celebrities like Demi Lovato and Kourtney Kardashian ignored medical advice and have been photographed wearing pricey masks in recent weeks. Gwyneth Paltrow, reigning queen of dubious wellness advice, posted an Instagram of herself jetting to Paris a couple weeks ago wearing a sleek $50 Swedish face mask. “I’ve already been in this movie,” she captioned her selfie, referring to 2011’s Contagion.
No amount of money can inoculate the rich and famous against a resilient and aggressive respiratory virus, though. We’re all at risk of contracting, carrying and transmitting COVID-19. That’s why social distancing is so important this week and next — the virus has spread invisibly for weeks now, and we won’t know who has it till people start showing symptoms or testing is made free and widely available. Celebrities, with all their fan-greeting and jet-setting, probably have an elevated risk of exposure than most normal folks.
Sure enough, in the last week or so, a number of famous people have tested positive for coronavirus. And thankfully, they all seem to be keeping calm and following medical advice. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were the first A-listers to succumb. They’re on the mend and self-quarantining in Australia, according to their son, Chet Hanks.
Yesterday, Idris Elba announced he also has coronavirus. He learned on Friday he’d interacted with someone who was positive and immediately went into self-quarantine, got tested and shared the results as soon as they came back on Monday.
Kristofer Hivju, who played Tormund on Game of Thrones, also shared bad news on Monday. “Greetings from Norway! Sorry to say that I, today, have tested positive for COVID19,” he wrote. “My family and I are self-isolating at home for as long as it takes.” Hivju said he’s in good health and his symptoms are mild, but he reminded people that coronavirus is deadly for those with immunodeficiency or underlying medical conditions and urged everyone to be vigilant.
The 26-year-old star of Frozen 2, Rachel Matthews, tested positive for coronavirus on Monday, too. In an effort to be transparent in a time of so much misinformation, the actress detailed her day-by-day symptoms on her Instagram. Matthews added that a test was “insanely” hard to come by; she only got one because she was exposed to a confirmed case. “If you have symptoms at all but can’t find a test please just treat yourself as if you are positive (you most likely are). Rest, drink lots of liquids and SELF QUARANTINE,” she wrote.
Actress Olga Kurylenko, who starred in the 2008 James Bond film Quantum of Solace, also shared her coronavirus diagnosis over the weekend. “Locked up at home after having tested positive for Coronavirus. I’ve actually been ill for almost a week now. Fever and fatigue are my main symptoms,” she wrote on Instagram.
Matthew Broderick’s sister contracted the virus, as well, and is currently hospitalized in isolation in an intensive care unit with severe pneumonia. “Everyone has been so good to me and supported me with prayers,” the Rev. Janet Broderick, 64, wrote to her congregation at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills.
Numerous athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 at this point, and most sports leagues have shut down their seasons. The NBA cancelled games last Wednesday, after Utah Jazz basketball players Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell were diagnosed with coronavirus. Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood became the NBA’s third player to be diagnosed.
An unnamed New York Yankees minor league player tested positive over the weekend and is quarantined, too, making him the first confirmed case in baseball. Cleveland State women’s basketball coach Chris Kielsmeier also has coronavirus. “It has been a very challenging couple of days,” he said. “I am beginning to feel better and look forward to getting back to 100%.”
As far as politicians go, the buzziest diagnosis thus far has been Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. According to a statement, she’s “feeling well” with “mild” symptoms.” While “the Prime Minister is in good health with no symptoms,” he’s self-isolating for 14 days as a “precautionary measure.” Among other politicians who have fallen ill are Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and UK health minister Nadine Dorries. Donald Trump tested negative for coronavirus over the weekend, though he was in contact with infected individuals.
The diagnosis of Universal Music Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge sent shockwaves through the entertainment business, since the music exec celebrated his 60th birthday in late February with a number of other VIPS, including Apple CEO Tim Cook. Grainge is currently isolated and undergoing treatment at a hospital in Los Angeles.
Curiously, as coronavirus panic spreads through every echelon of society and hospitals scramble to procure enough tests, a crazy number of stars claim they’ve been tested already and don’t have COVID-19. Kris Jenner got tested, because she’d been in contact with Grainge, but she “wasn’t sick and didn’t have any symptoms,” according to a source. (Jenner tested negative.)
Celine Dion thought she had coronavirus after “coming down with symptoms similar to a cold,” so she postponed two concerts on March 9 to get tested. (She also got the all-clear.) Heidi Klum hasn’t been feeling well either, so she and husband Tom Kaulitz were screened over the weekend. Kaulitz’s test came back negative, but Klum is still waiting on results. If you're otherwise healthy but are hankering to feel a bit queasy, go ahead and watch the couple kiss through a pane of glass on Klum's Instagram... It's really something.