On Thursday, the first lady released a PSA on her official Twitter account focusing on a message of reassurance

By Sean Neumann
March 19, 2020 02:03 PM
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First Lady Melania Trump will appear in nationally broadcast public service announcements raising awareness and providing information about the novel coronavirus pandemic, the White House said Wednesday.

On Thursday, she released a PSA on her official Twitter account focusing on a message of reassurance that the international disruption to daily life will not become the new normal.

“While changes need to be made now, this is not how we will live forever,” she said in the minute-long video. “Our children will return to school, people will return to work, we will gather at the places of worship, concerts and sporting events again.”

The White House announced late Wednesday that it was partnering with several major media companies as part of a broader awareness campaign as all levels of government and society ramp up efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS, ABC/Walt Disney Television and iHeartMedia are all involved in the PSA campaign, the White House said. NBC, for example, “will create a series of videos and graphics, available in both English and Spanish, to inform high-risk populations about the steps they can take to protect themselves,” while Disney “will promote priority messaging for parents and families.”

In addition to the first lady, other Trump administration officials such as Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx and more will appear in ad spots about how Americans can protect themselves and help stop the virus.

“I urge you to stay connected to family and love ones through the video chats, phone calls, social media and other safe technologies,” the first lady, 49, said in her Twitter PSA on Thursday. “Stay safe and remember while many of us are apart, we are all in this together.”

Melania Trump International Women of Courage
First Lady Melania Trump
| Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty

Worldwide, there has been about 230,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 9,300 deaths as of Thursday afternoon.

In the U.S., there have been about 10,200 confirmed cases and 149 deaths, according to a New York Times tracker.

The virus, which first emerged in China in late 2019, causes the respiratory disease COVID-19. While many patients will experience mild or moderate symptoms, a fraction of them will have severe problems. People over 60 and with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

President Donald Trump has adopted a more serious tone about the virus this week. He had said late last month that Democrats were trying to politicize it as a “hoax” and he downplayed it compared to the seasonal flu.

This week, however, he told reporters that he “felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”

The coronavirus PSAs will direct Americans to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website to learn more about what they can do to stop the spread of the virus — including washing their hands, staying home and practicing social distancing to prevent more infections.

The CDC encourages maintaining basic forms of hygiene including careful hand washing, avoiding touching the face, moving away from people who are coughing or sneezing and staying home at signs of illness.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.