In less than an hour on Wednesday, Tom Hanks revealed he and wife Rita Wilson had tested positive for coronavirus, the NBA announced it was suspending its 2019-20 season and President Trump said certain travelers from Europe would be barred from entering the U.S. for 30 days.
Earlier in the day, the World Health Organization referred to the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic for the first time.
According to WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the pandemic classification does not change the WHO’s strategy for slowing the outbreak and should not affect how countries are tackling cases.
On Twitter, however, at least some people seemed to hope others would finally start to take the outbreak more seriously.
“Coachella’s postponed, the NBA is suspended, there’s a travel ban to Europe, Tom Hanks has coronavirus. If you’re still doubting the severity of all of this, I encourage you to do some more reading,” said producer Chet Porter on Twitter. “You and I might be able to fight it off, but I’m not sure if my parents can.”
Amid shock that a household name like Hanks has been affected by coronavirus, some used the occasion to point out how he and Wilson were probably only able to get tested because the pair are in Australia (there is a shortage of cornavirus testing in the U.S.).
Others wished the couple a speedy recovery.
coachella’s postponed, the NBA is suspended, there’s a travel ban to europe, tom hanks has corona virus.. if you’re still doubting the severity of all of this, i encourage you to do some more reading. you and i might be able to fight it off, but i’m not sure if my parents can— chet porter (@chetporter) March 12, 2020
Lucky for Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson that they were in Australia, where they do testing.— Paula Poundstone (@paulapoundstone) March 12, 2020
If saving Tom Hanks isn't enough motivation to develop a vaccine, we're all doomed.— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) March 12, 2020
Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson. The NBA!— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) March 12, 2020
Trumpers? Can we agree that this isn’t a hoax?
Can’t you see how dangerous this president is? He’s been lying to us for weeks. Can’t you see how dangerous Fox News is? They’ve been corroborating his lies.
Literally the short list of people who I wish nothing bad would happen to EVER is:— Eugene Lee Yang (@EugeneLeeYang) March 12, 2020
1) my family
2) innocent children
3) Tom Hanks
TOM HANKS HAS CORONAVIRUS— amber ruffin (@ambermruffin) March 12, 2020
THE WORLD IS UPSIDE DOWN
WE HAVE TO START OVER
GOOD THINGS ARE NO MORE
It took Tom Hanks and the NBA for some of y'all to take scientists seriously.— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) March 12, 2020
Tom Hanks survived an oxygen tank failure in deep space, being stranded in JFK airport for 9 months during a political coup and a flock of birds disabling his plane's engines at 2,800ft. He's got this.— Jon Risinger (@JonRisinger) March 12, 2020