Tom Hanks’s crushing announcement that he and Rita Wilson tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Australia has, of course, involved an investigation about where the couple contracted the disease. Hanks maintained an optimistic tone with fans, but of course, folks were rattled, even with Chet Haze telling everyone that his dad’s “not trippin'” over his diagnosis. The tracing of the illness, however, is bound to unsettle more people, given that Australian officials say that it’s very likely that the couple contracted coronavirus in the U.S.
Hanks and Wilson fell ill about seven days after arriving down under to film Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming Elvis biopic (Hanks plays Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker), and the production is now halted while Hanks quarantines for 14 days and recovers. As of Thursday, confirmed coronavirus cases in Australia sat at 130. While addressing the 7 new cases in the country, an Queensland Health official stated that all had contracted the virus before arrival, meaning that Hanks and Wilson were exposed in the U.S. or on the flight to Australia. From Hollywood Reporter:
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are believed to have contracted the coronavirus in the U.S., or in transit from there, according to officials from Queensland Health, the Australian government department overseeing the outbreak of the disease in that state.
On Thursday, a Queensland Health official, without specifically naming the couple, said that all new reported infections are non-contact cases and that the patients are believed to have “contracted the illness outside Australia and traveled to Queensland with the virus.”
Since California’s sitting at #3 on CNN’s updated state-by-state breakdown of U.S. cases, it’s not surprising that they’d have caught the virus before traveling. Of course, there’s also the possibility that they contracted it while flying, given the CDC’s known incubation window for the disease. Yet if Australia’s standing firm on their declaration, they’ve certainly done their due diligence in tracing all possible avenues of Hanks and Wilson contracted the virus, and they’re certain that it didn’t happen on Australian soil. This update is more definitive than the initial statement to the New York Times from Annastacia Palaszczuk, the premier of Queensland, who simply declared that of all coronavirus cases in her state, “we know the origin of where they have come from.”
The fact that the couple was tested and diagnosed so quickly points toward Australia’s preparedness for pandemics, whereas delayed testing in the U.S. has undoubtedly masked the true number of people who are infected with coronavirus, in California and across the country.