Tom Hanks criticizes Trump response to coronavirus: 'I grew up looking to our leaders for calm and informed guidance'
For many, the announcement on March 11 that Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson had contracted COVID-19 — news that coincided with the abrupt end of the NBA season — marked an alarming new escalation of the pandemic. Nearly four months later, the Oscar winner says he and his actress wife are “fine” — but he has some serious misgivings about how the United States has handled the crisis.
“Oh no, we’re fine,” Hanks said in a new interview with Britain’s the Guardian newspaper. “Our discomfort because of the virus was pretty much done in two weeks and we had very different reactions, and that was odd. 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. That last bit is kinda like my natural state anyway.”
The actor, who received treatment in Australia, added that despite his other medical conditions, his COVID-19 experience wasn’t considered life-threatening.
“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. 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.”
Since his recovery, Hanks has committed to helping other patients heal by donating plasma. He’s also urged his others to do their part by practicing social distancing and wearing face masks. The 63-year-old star told the Guardian that he’s perplexed by resistance to those safety measures — and confused by official government guidance (or lack thereof).
“Oh dear! I have nothing but question marks about the official position as well as the individual choice,” he says of those refusing to wear masks and take other precautions. “There’s really only three things everyone needs to do: wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands. I know societally it’s been politicized, but I don’t get it, man. I don’t understand how anyone can put their foot down and say: ‘I don’t have to do my part.’”
And what of President Donald Trump, who has avoided wearing a mask in public and continued to hold campaign rallies?
“Well, I must say, I grew up looking to our leaders for calm and informed guidance and I don’t think we’ve got that,” Hanks told the paper.