It’s safe to assume we’re all on edge right now, from the Democratic primaries and forthcoming presidential election to, well, the global virus that was newly classified by the World Health Organization as a “pandemic.” On Wednesday night, mere minutes after the nation’s president, Donald J. Trump, address the issue in his second-ever Oval Office address — and around the same time the NBA indefinitely suspended its current season — word broke that COVID-19 had infected two high-profile people: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson.
The husband-and-wife actors are in Australia, on pre-production on Baz Luhrmann’s as-yet-untitled Elvis Presley movie, in which Hanks is cast as Colonel Tom Parker. Deadline first reported the news, then Hanks himself took to Twitter with a post reliably filled with good-humor and hope.
News that one of Hollywood’s most beloved contemporary actors, often dubbed our era’s very own Jimmy Stewart, left an already shaken nation extra scared, even if some of the reactions used mock-horror as a form of therapy.
CORONAVIRUS GOT TOM HANKS! YOU CANNOT TAKE TOM HANKS FROM US! https://t.co/9Bikuu3CqD
— Joel (@NobodyEpic) March 12, 2020
— Colin Macy-O'Toole (@ColinMacyOToole) March 12, 2020
If I watch the world let Tom Hanks die from the Coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/xggDU6G1lo
— Cameron Grant (@ImCoolCam101) March 12, 2020
This virus is some bullshit, jumpin' straight to Tommy Hanks and whatnot. You gotta work your way up to Tommy damn Hanks! Get well, Tommy Hanks! https://t.co/ezqmxCJAkp
— George Wallace (@MrGeorgeWallace) March 12, 2020
Some laid down their own lives in their steads.
SPEAKING TO CORONAVIRUS DIRECTLY …. TAKE ME INSTEAD OF TOM HANKS GOD DAMMIT. TAKE ME INSTEAD pic.twitter.com/FFPX4B7R0C
— paul rudd (@philsadelphia) March 12, 2020
Others advocated revolution.
If anything happens to Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, we're taking to the streets.
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) March 12, 2020
Others noted that this plot twist rather smacked of bad screenwriting.
Bad plot turn: Tom Hanks says he and Rita Wilson tested positive for coronavirus https://t.co/PRzofLJSOM
— Jeff Stein (@SpyTalker) March 12, 2020
Some pointed out that, until tonight’s zombified Oval Office address, our president has been downplaying the coronavirus’ severity.
Looking forward to the president's tweet denouncing the NBA, Tom Hanks and Italy for joining the Democratic-media conspiracy to bring him down.
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) March 12, 2020
Of course, Tom Hanks probably did more to raise awareness of the virus than Trump has.
Tom Hanks made this situation a lot more real than Trump ever could
— Roland Scahill (@rolandscahill) March 12, 2020
In fact, maybe this is a silver lining? Of sorts?
Tom Hanks being positive for coronavirus will likely do more for awareness than the combined efforts of the White House.
— Michael Brendan Dougherty (@michaelbd) March 12, 2020
Many were overwhelmed by the sheer volume and intensity of coronavirus news.
Tom Hanks got Coronavirus
Tom Hanks wife got Coronavirus
Rudy Gobert got Coronavirus
Donald Trump bans travel to Europe
NBA season is suspended
— Seacubs (@Seacubs) March 12, 2020
The NBA, Tom Hanks, AND this game?
My head is going to explode
— UNC Barstool (@UNCBarstool) March 12, 2020
Holy shit! The NBA season suspended, Europe travel ban, E3 cancelled, Rudy Gobert and Tom Hanks are quarantined 😨
— Parris (@vicious696) March 12, 2020
Reminder: 2020 is only two months and change old. Remember when Trump almost caused a war in Iran?
2020 so far 😭
– World War 3 scare
– David Stern Passes
– Kobe Bryant and daughter passes
– NBA is suspended
– March Madness won’t have fans
– Tom Hanks has coronavirus
– Coronavirus in general
Just cancel 2020 already pic.twitter.com/1B0uc1n3Qg
— ⚡️𝓓𝓪𝔀𝓼𝓸𝓷⚡️ (@TheNbaDunk) March 12, 2020
Meanwhile, Chet Hanks, Tom and Rita Wilson’s one son, took to Instagram to instill some calm into a scary situation.
“I just got off the phone with them. They are both fine, they’re not even that sick. They’re not that worried about, they’re not tripping. They’re both going though the necessary health precautions,” Chet said. “I think they’re going to be alright. Everybody stay safe out there.”