Tom Hanks Swipes At U.S. Leadership — Or Lack Thereof — On Coronavirus

Tom Hanks criticized the response of U.S. leaders to the coronavirus pandemic as he urged people to follow basic guidance from health experts to stem the spread.

The Academy Award-winning actor, who battled COVID-19 along with his wife Rita Wilson in March, told The Guardian UK that, in reflecting on how the U.S. has responded to the crisis, he has “nothing but question marks about the official position” as well as choices made by individuals.  

“There’s really only three things everyone needs to do: wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands,” he said, echoing blunt advice he gave in a press conference last week. “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.’”

When asked about President Donald Trump ― who generally refuses to wear a mask in public settings, persistently downplays the extent of the virus and has been hosting events where thousands of people ignore the guidelines his own experts have stressed should be followed during the pandemic ― Hanks decried a lack of good leadership qualities.

“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,” he said.

Hanks and Wilson, both 63, were hospitalized in Australia for COVID-19 while he was on location for Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic, which may resume production later this year. 

He said he and Wilson are “fine” now, recalling that their “discomfort from the virus was pretty much done in two weeks.” He also said they experienced the sickness very differently.

“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,” he said. “That last bit is kinda like my natural state anyway.”

Hanks’ latest project, the World War II drama “Greyhound,” will be released on Apple TV+ instead of cinemas due to the pandemic. He produced the film, wrote the screenplay and stars in it.

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