When COVID-19 first hit American soil back in March, we didn't know much about the deadly virus — and, in many respects, we still don't. After months of business shut-downs, hospitalizations, and an infection and death toll that continues to rise, it's on everyone to stop the spread of the virus — which is why 36 celebrities hopped on a call with Anthony Fauci, MD, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House coronavirus task force, to learn how they could help.
Kim Kardashian West organized the Zoom call, which was made up of other notable A-Listers, including Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Orlando Bloom, Katy Perry, 2 Chainz, Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk. "It was a whole bunch of movie stars and some sports figures and they wanted to know about what they could do to stay safe, about wearing masks, and avoiding crowds," Dr. Fauci revealed to CNN this week. "I was impressed by the questions they asked, by their level of sophistication."
Dr. Fauci agreed to hop on a call in the hopes that these celebs would share the important, life-saving info with their millions of followers. "Each of them has enormous numbers of followers on their social media accounts. I could say to them, for example, it's important to wear a mask, and they get on their accounts and say 'wear a mask' and it goes out to an additional couple of million people," said Dr. Fauci. A source close to Kardashian West told CNN that "she wanted to speak with someone, to ask questions, so she could spread accurate information because there were so many inaccuracies those first few months."
Whether those celebrities actually listened, though, is up for debate. Several months after the call, the instigator and Keeping Up With The Kardashians star whisked away a large group of friends and family to a private island in the midst of the pandemic. Kardashian West's sister, Kourtney Kardashian, reportedly promoted a harmful mask conspiracy theory to her 102 million followers, which doctors called "unbelievably dangerous." Kendall Jenner threw herself a Halloween birthday bash filled with everything but masks.
We get it. COVID fatigue is setting in, and fast. But celebrities with enormous platforms — who have access to millions upon millions of people at the touch of a button — need to lead by example (and be held accountable when they flout travel and social distancing advisories). As we enter into the winter and the holiday season, it's vital that we stay vigilant in following the protective measures we know work when it comes to preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus. Wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands, and maybe don't have a huge birthday trip to a private island that puts you, service workers, and locals in danger. You don't need a private VIP Zoom call to know better than that.