Nine years ago, the movie Contagion opened in cinemas. It depicted the spread of a disease, causing a global pandemic that fictionally killed 26 million people all over the world. At the time of its release, the film was lauded by scientists for presenting an eerily accurate picture of the effects of a highly transmissible virus amidst a society deathly underprepared for it.
Now, as the world finds itself in a situation so uncannily similar, many people have turned back to the film to gain a sense of understanding of today’s crisis. Last January 28, during the start of the COVID-19 scare, Contagion skyrocketed up the iTunes movie rental chart, brushing up against the top 10 for weeks on end. Several articles by international publications also came out, citing how the movie seems to have "predicted" the current pandemic.
With its newfound reach, the movie’s star-studded cast partnered up with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health to release a series of informational videos regarding the COVID-19 virus and how to prevent it from further spreading. Matt Damon, who played a character immune to the virus, reiterated the importance of social distancing, urging everyone, especially the youth to stay home. "That was a movie. This is real life," Matt began. "I have no reason to believe that I'm immune to COVID-19, and neither do you, no matter how young you are."
Meanwhile Kate Winslet, a doctor in the film, demonstrated the need for proper hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. “Wash your hands like your life depends on it because right now it just might,” she said in her video.
Three more of the movie’s cast joined in on the series including Marion Cotillard, Laurence Fishburne, and Jennifer Ehle. Marion, in particular, posted a video on her Instagram, which compiles all of their informational clips into one moving message. Together, they called for everyone to stay at home and to listen to scientists and doctors first and foremost.
Read up on the Contagion cast’s joint vital message below and remember to take it to heart:
“Everything you’re going to hear from us has been vetted by public health experts and scientists. A pandemic means that the virus is everywhere but it won’t be every place at the same time. We all want a cure but the health of our society is in your hands. It needs us to survive. Let’s not give it any help. Here’s what you can do now: Wash your hands like your life depends on it. Social distancing. It means six feet away from another person. It is a choice, but it is a choice we all have to make together. Scientists and doctors are the people we need to be listening to right now. If there are elderly or vulnerable people near you, let them know you’re there to help. We can beat this thing together just by staying apart. Please just stay home until we have a vaccine or a cure, we need to be that for each other starting now.”
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