Idris Elba coronavirus update: 'Generally doing OK,' he says

The star of Pacific Rim and Marvel movies also urges fans not to spread the false claim that black people can't contract COVID-19.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
2 min read

Actor Idris Elba is doing well despite having tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus , the actor said on Twitter Tuesday. Elba, who played Stringer Bell on HBO's The Wire and has starred in such films as Thor, Pacific Rim and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, said he has a runny nose, but is "generally feeling OK." The actor noted that he has asthma, which places him in a more high-risk category of people who have underlying health conditions and may be hit harder by the disease.

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"But even my asthma is OK," Elba said, noting that he's had asthma his whole life. "I don't feel any restriction within my breathing or in my lungs."

Elba announced his diagnosis on Twitter Monday in a short video made with his wife, Sabrina.

On Tuesday, Elba said Sabrina has been tested and is awaiting results. He also said that his first video brought her public scorn from some viewers.

"People were criticizing her for being next to me (in Monday's video) and that was bananas," he said. "We didn't expect that."

Many immediate responses to Elba's first video came from those demanding to know how he managed to get tested so quickly. Elba said Monday that he had been exposed to someone who had themselves tested positive. On Tuesday, he expanded on that, saying he wanted to get tested quickly because he was about to start work on a new film and could have exposed the cast and crew. (The new film is presumably the fantasy romance Three Thousand Years of Longing, starring Elba and Tilda Swinton.) 

Elba didn't go into specifics about how he was able to get tested, but said he thought it was the right thing to do.

"We were really lucky to test very quickly because of the shortages of the test," he said. "But from my perspective, it was the best thing to do immediately ... because I was going to be around a lot of people."

Elba also urged fans not to spread conspiracy theories, including the false claim that black people can't be infected.

"(That false claim) is dumb, it's silly, it's very dangerous," Elba said. "Stop sending this stuff out. It's very dangerous for all, not just black people, but for everyone"

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, has also tested positive. On March 5, she posted a photo of herself and a group of people, including Elba, on Instagram. Other famous names, including Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, have tested positive and are self-quarantining in Australia. Wilson has made a relevant quarantine Spotify playlist, and Hanks has tweeted a variation on an inspiring Mister Rogers quote

Actor Olga Kurylenko, a former Bond girl, on Sunday shared on Instagram that she too has tested positive for coronavirus. "I've actually been ill for almost a week now," she wrote. "Fever and fatigue are my main symptoms. Take care of yourself and do take this seriously!" 

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