How Celebrities Are Preparing — and Helping — During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Several stars, like Justin Bieber, have donated to charity, while others have rescheduled tours amid the worldwide health crisis

With the Centers for Disease Control telling Americans to prepare “for a significant disruption” to their lives as the new coronavirus spreads across the country, celebrities, too, are altering their plans and taking steps to help.

Several stars have donated money to people in need. On Feb. 13, Justin Bieber announced that he was giving 200,000 RMB (about $29,000) to Beijing Chunmiao Charity Foundation, a child-focused non-profit in China.

“Watching the news I couldn’t imagine how scary it would be if a new disease was effecting[sp] my wife and my family and friends. China we stand with you as a collective humanity and have made a donation to support,” he wrote on Instagram. “Whether it be this or the fires of Australia we all need to be there for each other.”

Bill and Melinda Gates also donated through their foundation, pledging $100 million to search for treatments, help at-risk communities and expand testing availability, CNBC reported in mid-February.

The billionaire Microsoft co-founder also warned of the dangers of the new coronavirus, officially termed COVID-19, saying it may be the “once-in-a-century pathogen we’ve been worried about.”

And designer Donatella Versace donated 1 million RMB (just under $143,500) to the Chinese Red Cross Foundation “to help with the relief effort.”

“My heart goes out to those affected by the Coronavirus and their families,” she said, according to WWD. “… We are sending our love and support, and I urge everyone to help by donating to groups on the ground that assist those in need.”

Others shared their support in smaller ways. When the outbreak was just starting in China and citizens in Wuhan, the disease’s epicenter, were forced into quarantine, Katy Perry posted a message in solidarity on Weibo, a social networking site.

“I just wanted to send a message to you to let you know that we are all with you during this time, and keep fighting, and stay healthy, and positive as best as you can. We’re thinking of you. We are sending our prayers. We’re gonna get through this,” she said.

Meanwhile, celebrities are taking steps to avoid contracting coronavirus. Several artists have announced that they are canceling tour stops in Asia, including BTS, Green Day and Avril Lavigne.

“Please everybody take care of yourselves and stay healthy. You’re in my thoughts and prayers and we are hoping to announce rescheduled shows soon,” Lavigne said on Instagram on Saturday.

South Korean band BTS urged their fans to stay healthy, as the country has the most cases of coronavirus outside of mainland China, with 6,593.

“Health is always on our minds these days, and our messages of facing your inner self and loving yourself are ultimately only possible when you’re healthy,” BTS member Jimin said during a press conference in Seoul. “Especially since it is very risky outside these days. I hope you take care of yourself.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger also had to change up his plans because of coronavirus. He was supposed to host a special Arnold Sports Festival with bodybuilding competitions and an expo for March 5-8 in Columbus, Ohio, but the state’s health department said they could not allow any spectators to attend.

“It’s a sad day for me and everyone at the @ArnoldSports team. But we will always put our fans’ health first,” Schwarzenegger said on Instagram. “After discussions with @GovMikeDeWine, Mayor Ginther, and the CDC, we will be postponing the expo because we can’t risk bringing 250,000 people together with #COVID19.”

As of Friday, there are 231 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., and 14 people have died. Worldwide, cases now top 101,000.

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