One unexpected aspect of COVID-19 is that (so far) it is striking society’s most respectable members hardest. Instead of junkies and anonymous gay sex addicts like AIDS targeted, it’s hitting people like movie stars Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, Idris Elba, and the first ladies of Canada and Spain.
It’s easy to make up theories about how they must have had it coming, but let’s be frank.
Tom Hanks is a great guy, an American patriot whom I am proud to be a fellow citizen of. He’s a universally popular man. It’s hard to imagine who ranks much higher than Tom Hanks, among all human beings for whom more people would walk across the room to be able to say that they shook his hand.
Mrs. Hanks, by the way, who also has it, is extremely nice and amiable. At the 2002 L.A. auto show, when Tom was the biggest star in the world, Ms. Wilson initiated a charming conversation with my wife when they found themselves side by side.
“That was Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks’ wife,” my wife then told me.
“The lady who just produced My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Didn’t she just earn many millions from it?”
“Yeah, I think she wants to buy her husband a nice car with all the money she has made.”
The Hanx had to take a roughly 15 hours flight to Australia. The more hours you spend in the air, the worse, evidently. Perhaps the higher cabin pressure and humidity Boeing 787 Dreamliner with the carbon fiber fuselage would be a better choice than conventional, easily rusted aluminum hulls.
It’s also hitting our most valuable scientists. From the Guardian:
Top UK Covid-19 expert self-isolates after developing symptoms
Neil Ferguson says he was probably infectious when he attended No 10 press conference
Neil Ferguson is a professor of Mathematical Biology at Imperial College. He’s the lead author of the crucial Imperial College report. In case you are wondering, he’s not Niall Ferguson, the celebrated and genial historian.
Wed 18 Mar 2020
One of the government’s top coronavirus experts has had to self-isolate after developing coronavirus symptoms and revealed he was probably infectious when he attended a Downing Street press conference on Tuesday.
Prof Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, tweeted that he has a persistent cough and high fever, and had been forced to self-isolate in his central London flat for seven days.
Ferguson, head of the modelling programme at Imperial’s MRC centre for global infectious disease analysis, who has been working round the clock with a team of experts advising the government, tweeted: “Sigh. Developed a slight dry but persistent cough yesterday and self-isolated even though I felt fine. Then developed high fever at 4am today. There is a lot of Covid-19 in Westminster.”
Ferguson, has been advising UK officials for two months, and was one of co-authors of a scientific paper published this week which led to the government drastically changing its strategy in the face of the global pandemic.
In the paper it was predicted that 260,000 people could have died if officials hadn’t announced social distancing measures.
He said: “So I got a slight cough, actually while I was being interviewed by you [BBC Radio 4] yesterday.
“In the abundance of caution, I self-isolated then so I’m stuck in my flat on my own for seven days in central London. Then at four o’clock in the morning I got a high fever, which is somewhat better now but I still feel fairly grotty.
“I’ve been in so many meetings in the last few weeks, and a number of my colleagues from other universities who have been advising the government in those meetings have also developed symptoms.”
During the interview Ferguson, who has been in contact with the prime minister and his chief advisers, said he wasn’t surprised that he had potentially contracted the virus, saying London was the current UK hotspot for the virus.
“I have to say central London is the hotspot in the UK at the moment. There almost certainly are thousands of cases in central London, so it’s not that surprising. I’ve been in lots of meetings and contacting lots of people,” he added.
Ferguson, went on to say that there was a potential risk that he had been infectious during a press conference in Downing Street on Tuesday.
He said: “We think there’s infectiousness for about a day before symptoms, and I was actually at a Downing Street press conference that day. I mean there is a slight risk I may have infected someone but that probably is quite slight.”
In other words, there’s a high chance that our best and brightest in this fight are already hors de combat from attending so many crucial conferences.
Similarly, family ski vacations, a wonderfully wholesome and healthy activity most of the time, now appear to be a strong vector.