Shreyas Kulkarni
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The cast of 'Contagion' create PSAs from their homes...

... to talk about the Coronavirus, how it spreads from one person to another and why you should follow the precautions prescribed by public health officials.

The film 'Contagion' is about a deadly virus that spirals out of control and becomes a pandemic, with the Centers for Disease Control and other US authorities scrambling to find a cure for it.

No wonder that the film is now seeing a resurgence of sorts.

With the global Coronavirus death toll crossing 50,000, many countries have ordered their citizens to stay at home. Social distancing is considered effective against the spread of the virus.

Now, the cast of 'Contagion' has teamed up with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and filmed five public service announcements (PSAs) from their homes.

According to the school’s website, “These PSAs were written under the guidance of the same experts who worked on the film 'Contagion': Dr W Ian Lipkin, director of the Columbia Mailman School’s Center for Infection and Immunity, who is currently leading research to develop tests and drugs for COVID-19. Dr Larry Brilliant, an epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox and served as the first CEO of founder Jeff Skoll’s Skoll Global Threats Fund. Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist and bestselling author. And, Mark Smolinski, president, Ending Pandemics and founder of the Predict and Prevent Initiative at Google.org.”

“We were joined for this campaign by adviser Dr Stephen Morse, an infectious disease expert who serves as chair of Columbia’s Institutional Biosafety Committee and professor of epidemiology at Columbia Mailman School.”

Cast member and Oscar-winning British actress Kate Winslet says, “Wash your hands like your life depends on it.” She goes on to talk about how washing your hands with soap and water helps to combat the virus. Winslet also talks about how the virus spreads.

Then there is US actor Laurence Fishburne, who talks about how the virus travels through human contact, and why we should practice social distancing and stay at home.

Oscar winner Matt Damon, whose character was immune to the hypothetical virus in the movie, talks about social distancing, and that you should stay six feet away from another person.

Jennifer Ehle says the virus can affect anyone, regardless of age or ethnicity, and we must listen to scientists and doctors, who are the real experts.

French Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard talks about listening to public health experts, staying at home and not gather in crowds.

Also Read: This Lifebuoy print ad urges customers to use competitors too

Meanwhile, back home in India, Lifebuoy, the soap brand from Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), is running a campaign to emphasise the importance of washing your hands, regardless of the soap brand.

The virus, as of now, has no vaccine. Government and public health officials state that frequent handwashing and social distancing are the two most effective ways to protect oneself.