In a new update posted on Instagram on Sunday, the 63-year-old popular actor channeled children’s TV character Mister Rogers, who he plays in the 2019 film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
“Thanks to the Helpers. Let’s take care of ourselves and each other. Hanx,” he wrote.
On the show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which aired from 1968 to 2001, the host told viewers that his mother advised him to “look for the helpers” during times of trouble.
More than 6,400 people have died of the novel coronavirus and at least 167,000 have tested positive for it in more than 110 countries since it was discovered in Wuhan, China late last year.
Millions of people have self-isolated at home in recent weeks in a bid to minimize their risk of contracting and spreading the virus. While news reports have shown apocalyptic scenes of crowds filling stores and “panic buying” household products to hoard amid concerns of shortages, many “helpers,” offering a glimmer of faith in the human spirit, have surfaced as well.
Across communities worldwide, volunteers have worked to gather and deliver food and other necessities to those in need who are unable to or choose not to leave their homes, namely the elderly, who are most susceptible to suffering deadly complications from the virus. Others have advertised their babysitters and nannies’ services to help parents whose kids’ schools and daycares were recently shut down with little to no notice.
In addition, many celebrities and other wealthy individuals have donated large sums of money to coronavirus relief efforts, or arranged for workers unable to receive paid sick leave to be compensated.
Hanks also included in his post a photo of a plush kangaroo holding an Australian flag and standing over two pieces of toast smeared with thick layers of Vegemite, with a tube of it resting nearby, with a tiny plush Koala bear attached to it. Some people expressed amusement at the unusually large amount of the salty yeast extract spread, an Australian delicacy, that the actor used.
Hanks had revealed last week that he and Wilson had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, aka COVID-19, after feeling fatigue, body aches and having slight fevers. They remain in isolation. Scores of fans have said that the shocking announcement by the actor, one of the most beloved in the world, made the pandemic more “real” to them.
Hanks and Wilson were in Australia because Hanks was doing pre-production work on an Elvis Presley biopic.
“We are taking it one-day-at-a-time,” he later said. “There are things we can all do to get through this by following the advice of experts and taking care of ourselves and each other, no? Remember, despite all the current events, there is no crying in baseball.”