Coronavirus scare: Contagion actress Kate Winslet on how stopping the spread of COVID-19 is in your hands

Updated: Apr 08, 2020, 16:45 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Los Angeles

Kate Winslet-starrer Contagion, which released in 2011 is quite similar to what is happening today in the world with the COVID-19 situation

Kate Winslet in a still from Contagion. Image source: Twitter/@WinsletArmy
Kate Winslet in a still from Contagion. Image source: Twitter/@WinsletArmy

The movie Contagion follows the rapid progress of a lethal airborne virus that is spreading in the world and killing millions. As the fast-moving epidemic grows, the worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself. At the same time, ordinary people struggle to survive in a society coming apart. The movie is quite similar to what is happening today in the world with the COVID-19 situation.

Kate Winslet, who plays the leading role in the movie, said in a press statement the importance of following precautions to avoid the spread of coronavirus. Columbia Public Health quoted the actress as saying, "In the movie Contagion, I played an epidemiologist trying to stop the spread of a hypothetical virus. To prepare for the role, I spent time with some of the best Public Health professionals in the world. What was one of the most important things they taught me? Wash your hands like your life depends on it because right now, in particular, it just might or the life of someone you love or even the life of someone you might not know but is still deserving of your consideration. Like the people on the front lines of this fight right now - the Doctors and the Health Care Providers or the people who are still working in the grocery stores or delivering food to your homes, which is where you should be right now."

She continues, "So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, a little bit powerless, here’s something we can all do to make a difference and it doesn’t require a medical degree, or a microscope, or a ton of knowledge – Soap and Water are all you need. The water doesn’t need to be that hot and any soap will do. The way soap works is that one end of the soap molecule binds with the water and the other end binds to the grease on your hands. The virus is washed away with that grease, when the soap molecule attaches to it. A scientist taught me this and taught me to wash my hands for 20 seconds."

She further added that, "Remember, there is only one way to get COVID-19 – if you come in direct contact with a droplet from the cough or a sneeze of an infected person and that droplet finds its way into our eyes, nose, or mouth. Gross, but true. That’s why people need to cover their mouths with their elbows because COVID-19 can also live on surfaces or as scientists call them – Fomites. Fomites include – cardboard boxes, stainless steel forks, carpet, bedding and clothes. Depending on the surface, COVID-19 can live there from a few hours to a few days. So, wipe down surfaces that are frequently used with a disinfectant. Here are the rules for that: Spray, wait for four minutes and then Wipe. Yes, it takes four minutes for a disinfectant to do its job. Avoid touching your face. It’s not easy but it is important. Because if you touch a surface with your hands and then you touch your face, you can get infected. So, to put it simply, the health of our society is quite literally in your hands. I know this is hard, and this is new, and it’s scary, but you really can defend yourself and the people you love with a bar of soap, a sink, some water and by listening to the Public Health Experts where you live. We all want a cure but until we have one, we need to be that for each other, starting now."

Contagion, starring Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Bryan Cranston, Jennifer Ehle, and Sanaa Lathan will be aired on Sony PIX this Friday at 7 pm.

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