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After recovering from coronavirus, Tom Hanks has a simple request: Wear your face mask

Published Jul 1st, 2020 8:04PM EDT
Face mask
Image: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

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  • Tom Hanks, who was one of the first celebrities to come forward with a positive coronavirus diagnosis, has a simple message for people who are refusing to wear a face mask: “Don’t be a prick.”
  • Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson both tested positive for the coronavirus but quickly recovered.
  • Hanks made the comments during a promotional appearance for his new movie, the Apple TV+ film Greyhound.

Tom Hanks may have been the first celebrity to publicize his positive coronavirus diagnosis, which the actor did back in March. He’s since recovered, along with his wife and fellow actress Rita Wilson, and has since donated his blood to researchers in case it helps in their work on a vaccine for the coronavirus.

Now, things are somewhat back to normal for the journeyman actor — he was the first “host” for Saturday Night Live’s inaugural episode that kicked off its recent socially distanced season, and he’s also the star of a new Apple TV+ movie (Greyhound, a World War II movie in which Hanks plays a Navy captain charged with protecting a convoy of ships carrying thousands of soldiers and supplies across the Atlantic) which debuts on the streamer on July 10. Meantime, as part of making the rounds with the press to promote the new movie, Hanks also has made some remarks about the current coronavirus pandemic — and he has a simple message for people who are resistant to wearing face masks.

“There’s really only three things we can do in order to get to tomorrow,” Hanks said, to People. “Wear a mask, social distance, wash our hands. Those things are so simple, so easy.

“If anybody cannot find it in themselves to practice those three very basic things — I just think shame on you. Don’t be a prick, get on with it, do your part. It’s very basic. If you’re driving a car, you don’t go too fast, you use your turn signal and you avoid hitting pedestrians.”

Hanks’ remarks about the worsening pandemic in the US came at a time when the number of reported cases here is approaching 2.7 million, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. Since the start of the pandemic, using that same data, there have also been almost 128,000 reported deaths in the US from the COVID-19 virus.

Face masks, along with social distancing, are currently regarded as so crucial in the fight against the coronavirus that Goldman Sachs’ chief economist wrote in a note to clients this week that he thinks a national face mask mandate could help save the US economy.

“We find that face masks are associated with significantly better coronavirus outcomes,” Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius wrote. “Our baseline estimate is that a national mandate could raise the percentage of people who wear masks by 15 (percentage points) and cut the daily growth rate of confirmed cases by 1.0 (percentage point) to 0.6%.

“These calculations,” Hatzius’ note continues, “imply that a face mask mandate could potentially substitute for lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from GDP.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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