On Friday, March 27, the stars of Contagion virtually reunited for a coronavirus PSA. Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, and Jennifer Ehle teamed up with Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health to create four separate videos to spread “information about scientific, evidence-based precautions” as part of the university’s Control the Contagion campaign. In an eerie parallel to current events, the 2011 thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh centered on a deadly pandemic that swept the globe.
In the PSAs, Damon called on people to listen to COVID-19 experts, Winslet shared a hand-washing tutorial, Fishburne urged social distancing, and Ehle educated viewers about vaccines, cautioning that no one is immune to the novel virus. “So, a few years ago a bunch of us did this movie called Contagion which we've noticed is creeping its way back up on the charts on iTunes for obvious reasons," Damon said, before urging people to stay home. “People can have COVID-19 and have very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, so even if you think that they’re healthy or you think that you’re healthy, don’t take that chance,” he said. “It’s not worth it.”
Fishburne echoed similar sentiments. “If we can slow this thing down, it will give our doctors and our nurses in our hospitals a fighting chance to help us all get through this thing together,” he said. Ehle, whose Contagion character develops a cure in the film, said in her video. “Every single one of us, regardless of age or ethnicity, is at risk of getting it.” Meanwhile, Winslet cautioned in her video, “Wash your hands like your life depends on it, because right now, in particular, it just might."
The evidence-based PSAs are part of Mailman School of Public Health’s efforts to combat misinformation about the coronavirus. The videos were produced by Soderbergh himself, Contagion screenwriter Scott Z. Burns, and Contagion scientific advisor Ian Lipkin, who also serves as director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at the Mailman School of Public Health.
Surpassing China and Italy, the U.S. now has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world. As of March 27, there are over 85,000 cases in the U.S. and over 1,200 deaths, per the CDC.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and coughing, call NHS 111 in the UK or visit the CDC website in the U.S. for up-to-date information and resources. You can find all Bustle’s coverage of coronavirus here, and UK-specific updates on coronavirus here.