Tom Hanks Questions Americans Who Aren't 'Doing Their Part' to Battle COVID-19: It's 'Simple'
"I don't know how common sense has somehow been put into question in regards to this," Tom Hanks said
On Tuesday, the Oscar winner appeared on Today for his first live interview since his coronavirus recovery, where he called on his fans to do their part in slowing the spread of the virus.
"What has lingered here is this societal question of doing our part," he told Hoda Kotb. "The idea of doing one's part though should be so simple. Wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands."
The actor and his wife Rita Wilson, both 63, tested positive in early March for the virus while in Australia. They since made a complete recovery and continue to self-isolate in Los Angeles after their return.
Hanks said it remains a "mystery" to him that "such a small thing" like helping others "has been wiped out of what should be ingrained in the behavior of us all."
"I think a huge majority of Americans get it," Hanks said of taking precautions for the virus.
However, "there is a darkness on the edge of town here, folks."
"Let's not confuse the fact, it's killing people. You can say, ‘Well, traffic accidents kill a lot of people too.’ But traffic accidents happen because a lot of drivers aren’t doing their part...I don't know how common sense has somehow been put in question in regards to this."
The actor, whose new World War II movie Greyhound will be released this week on VOD, explained that Americans should look to the unified efforts during World War II as a lesson in helping others today.
"Not everything I say has to be tied to somehow the war effort back during World War II, but there was a sensibility that permeated all of society, which was do your part, we're all in this together."
He continued, "We are all in this together, there are things that we can do in order to help our street, our neighborhood, our town, our city, our state, our nation, and our world."
"Our discomfort because of the virus was pretty much done in two weeks and we had very different reactions, and that was odd," he said. "My wife lost her sense of taste and smell, she had severe nausea, she had a much higher fever than I did. I just had crippling body aches, I was very fatigued all the time and I couldn’t concentrate on anything for more than about 12 minutes."
The Forrest Gump actor continued on to say that he was "pretty calm" throughout the experience.
"When we were in the hospital, I said: ‘I’m 63, I have type 2 diabetes, I had a stent in my heart – am I a red flag case?’ But as long as our temperatures did not spike, and our lungs did not fill up with something that looked like pneumonia, they were not worried," he recalled. "I’m not one who wakes up in the morning wondering if I’m going to see the end of the day or not. I’m pretty calm about that."
Hanks then criticized those who choose not to wear masks, even as top health officials urge the importance of face coverings in slowing the spread of the virus.
Last week, Hanks again shamed people who frequent public spaces during the pandemic without masks.
"Those things are so simple, so easy, if anybody cannot find it in themselves to practice those three very basic things – I just think shame on you," he said. "... Get on with it, do your part. It’s very basic."
Greyhound will be available to stream via Apple TV+ on July 10.
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