Celebrities Send Message To Young People: Stay At Home

Mar 22, 2020
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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Americans are supposed to be staying home, avoiding crowds, standing 6 feet apart in line, all to curb the spread of the coronavirus. But not everyone is social distancing or taking the risks of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, seriously.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I'm not going to let it stop me from partying.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: I just turned 21 this year. So I'm here to party, so...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: We're just living for the moment.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Those voices courtesy of a Reuters report this past week about Miami spring-breakers who were upset about bars, restaurants and nightclubs closing. Attitudes like this alarm public-health advocates, including Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator. Here's what she said last week during a White House briefing.

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DEBORAH BIRX: We are asking every single American, no matter what your generation, from Z and up to X and millennials in between, to really ensure that you're following these guidelines. We hear every night of people who are not in work moving that time into bars and other areas of large gatherings. If we continue with that process, we will fail in containing this virus.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: The elderly and infirm are most at risk. And young people...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BIRX: ...Have the potential then to spread it to someone who does have a condition that none of us knew about and cause them to have a disastrous outcome.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what can be done to change young minds and get them to be more sensitive to this public health crisis? Well, how about bringing on some star power like "Wonder Woman" actress Gal Gadot? She enlisted Hollywood celebrities to sing John Lennon's "Imagine" on Instagram.

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GAL GADOT: (Singing) Imagine there's no heaven.

KRISTEN WIIG: (Singing) It's easy if you try.

RICHARD MADDEN: (Singing) No hell below us.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But it didn't quite work. People were confused. Baby boomer Arnold Schwarzenegger took to Tik Tok and shared a video from his jacuzzi, puffing a cigar.

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ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: I just finished a bike ride and a little bit of workout. And I just, you know, keep staying at home and away from the crowds and away from outside.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All good - but it really takes youth to speak to youth or the youth-adjacent, like Ashley Tisdale of "High School Musical" and pop star JoJo.

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JOJO: (Singing) Stay it right now. Do it for humanity.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Others spoke directly to fans.

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JUSTIN BIEBER: I've been told that we need to start taking this a little bit more seriously than we're taking it. And so just keep the quarantine. Stay by yourself.

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KYLIE JENNER: The coronavirus is a real thing. I listened to the surgeon general this morning. And, you know, he kind of - even though I've already been doing my daily reminders, he definitely encouraged me to come on here and talk to you guys, so you could see me and hear me. Nobody's immune to this. Millennials are not immune to this. New evidence actually shows that a large percentage of people in the hospital right now are young adults.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That was Justin Bieber and Kylie Jenner talking to their millions of followers on Instagram. Yesterday, a younger boomer, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo - he's 62 - cut to the chase.

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ANDREW CUOMO: You want to have an opinion? Have an opinion. But you can have your own facts. Well, young people don't get this disease. You are wrong. That is not a fact. Eighteen to 49 years old are 54% of the cases in New York state - 54%.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So young or old or anywhere in between, please, please keep your distance.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE XX SONG "TOGETHER") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.