After his COVID-19 diagnosis, Idris Elba wants misinformation about the virus to stop circulating.
The actor, who recently tested positive for the virus, is asking the public to stop spreading conspiracy theories about it. In the early days of the now-global pandemic, many people, specifically those on Twitter, joked that those with melanin could not be infected.
"So NONE of these Corona Virus cases have been black people?! LEMME FOUND OUT WE IMMUNE. It’s the least God can do after slavery," one Twitter user wrote in a March 9 post.
So NONE of these Corona Virus cases have been black people?! LEMME FOUND OUT WE IMMUNE. It’s the least God can do after slavery.
— key. (@keywilliamss) March 9, 2020
The Zambian Observer even published a false report about African skin being resistant to the virus. As Blavity previously reported, 34 African nations are now battling the virus.
Black History Month is over but we outchere bbyyyy ???? pic.twitter.com/OGVTxpC3SB
— TENDERONA ☺️???????? (@thelionessclub) March 3, 2020
Reuters confirmed via the World Health Organization that any such claim that racial makeup can cause immunity to the virus is untrue. Elba, who has also seen the misinformation, conducted a live Twitter Q&A on Tuesday where he debunked such fallacies.
“Something that's sort of scaring me when I read the comments and see some of the reactions is… my people, Black people, Black people, please, please please understand that coronavirus is… you can get it, all right?" he said. "There are so many stupid, ridiculous conspiracy theories about Black people not being able to get it. That’s dumb, stupid."
— Idris Elba (@idriselba) March 17, 2020
He warned that the spreading of such falsities will only cause more people to fall ill.
“That is the quickest way to get more Black people killed,” he continued. “You're making us all look stupid. Just know you have to be as vigilant as every other race. This disease does not discriminate… And as a Black person who has contracted the virus, it needs to be said.”
The 47-year-old informed his fans he is still asymptomatic for the most part, only feeling slightly tired. He was tested after he learned someone he came into contact with tested positive. Because he was on location filming, he said it was important for him to get tested in order to prevent exposing a large number of people to the virus.
“I’m on location, about to start a film, and the news breaks that this person, who's also in the public eye, had tested positive, so it was definitely something I had to,” he said. “Quite honestly, my job made me test immediately. I had to test anyway because it meant putting a lot of people at risk if I had been exposed."
— Idris Elba (@idriselba) March 17, 2020
The Beasts of No Nation star said his exposure came on March 4, which is the same day he was photographed with Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, at a charity event in London.
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My heart is full after spending time working with my own family and the WE family. Our message in London: Show yourself love and offer that same love to the world. ???? Mon cœur se remplit d’amour entourée par ma fée Ella, ma belle-mère Margaret, ma belle-sœur Alicia et la famille agrandie de WE. On en fait tous partie! L’amour propre nous mène vers l’amour du monde.
While he’s feeling fine, he thinks his asthma put him more at risk of contracting the virus. Upon learning of his diagnosis, he immediately quarantined himself in his house on location. His wife, Sabrina Dhowre, has also been tested, and they are awaiting the results.
While Elba may be asymptomatic, another Black man who contracted COVID-19 is also urging people to take this seriously. Kevin Harris, the fifth known person to contract the virus in Ohio, asked his doctors if he would live. They couldn’t give him an answer.
“They told me they didn’t have a cure. I just wanted them to tell me if I’m going to live or die,” he told the New York Post.
He believes he was exposed to the virus when he went to another hospital for an appointment that ended up being canceled. After a few days, he had a weird feeling in his throat and couldn’t stop coughing. The next day he had a fever, headache and extreme body aches.
“The pain is off the charts. Everything hurts, nose, toes and ears,” said Harris. “I was like one big ball of pain.”
When he finally made it to the hospital, the doctors were surprised when the test came back positive because he was originally told it was the flu. He was their first case. He was given a variety of vitamins in order to activate his immune system.
A few days after his diagnosis, his pain finally reduced. Harris too is urging Black people to take this virus seriously.
"Black people saying, ‘Black people can't get this’? Look Black folks, they don't get no Blacker than me, and I was dying," he said while on The Clay Cane Show.