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Matt Damon: You can save lives just by staying away

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Los Angeles, April 8 (IANS) Amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, actor Matt Damon says while other generations have been asked to do extraordinary things, we are just being asked to stay at home.

He feels we all “can be together just by staying apart”.

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Recently, Damon reunited with Kate Winslet and other stars of the 2011 virus thriller “Contagion” for a series of public service announcements (PSAs) to warn people about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now is the time to spend all the time you want staring at your phone or your tablet and if anybody gives you a hard time about it, tell them not to bother you because you are saving lives. Just make sure that you tell them that from six feet away,” Damon said.

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“We can all do this together just by staying apart. Please do your part. Other generations have been asked to do extraordinary things. We’re being asked to just stay at home. We got this. Let’s please respect and protect our elders,” he added.

Looking back at his 2011 film “Contagion”, Damon said: “A few years ago, a bunch of us did this movie called ‘Contagion’, which we’ve noticed is creeping its way back up on the charts on iTunes for obvious reasons, given what we’re all living through right now. Everything you are going to hear from me has been vetted by Public Health Experts and Scientists. So, I am here to talk about social distancing, something we’ve been hearing a lot on TV since the last couple of weeks.”

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“In the movie, I played a guy who was immune to the hypothetical virus that was spreading around the world. So, a few things to start, that was a movie, this is real life. I have no reason to believe that I’m immune to covid-19 and neither do you, no matter how young you are. This is a new virus, it’s going to take some time for our bodies and our doctors to understand the best way to protect us. New viruses emerge all the time. This isn’t the first and it won’t be the last. So, the good news is, we have seen things like this before and we emerged stronger as a result. And in time, we’re going to win against this one as well. Nobody knows how much time, but we do know how to make that day get here quicker,” he added.

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 is trying hard to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself. At the same time, people are struggling to survive in a society that is coming apart. The movie will air in India on Sony PIX on Friday.

In a statement to Columbia Public Health, the actor stressed on the need to practice social distancing.

He said: “Social distancing means — staying six feet away from another person. It means not gathering in groups. It means staying home or sheltering in place if that’s what government officials are telling you to do. People can have covid-19 and have very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. So, even if you think that they’re healthy, or you think you’re healthy, don’t take that chance because, it’s not worth it. Every time that you pass this virus to someone else, you are actually giving it to three or four other people as well and then those people are going to do the same. So, before long, that one person turns to hundreds, which turns into thousands and that’s how we got into this situation in the first place.”

Damon feels it is wrong to thing that “you are young and you won’t get the virus”.

“Now, if you’re young and healthy, you might think that this is no big deal because you’ve heard that this virus is nothing more than a bad cold for you which is not true. Almost 40% hospitalised in this pandemic are under 55. And if you know anybody over the age of 55, or anyone who has any kind of pre-existing conditions, this is a lot more serious for them,” he said, adding: “So, you can literally save their lives just by staying away from each other. You can actually sit on the couch or in a chair and watch TV and save a life at the same time. You can work from home, you can use social media to communicate, you can save a few more.”



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