Will Smith knows a thing or two about global health crises.
Earlier this week, the 51-year-old actor gathered his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, mother-in-law, Adrienne Banfield Norris, and two of his children, Willow and Trey, to discuss the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and ways families can protect themselves and others. (Will's youngest son, Jaden, was not present for the discussion because he is practicing social distancing out of concern for his grandmother).
Will kicked things off with a few a laughs, joking about his post-apocalyptic film I Am Legend. Many have referenced the film on social media amid the COVID-19 outbreak as Will's character works on finding a cure for a man-made plague using his own immune blood.
"I wanted to do this because in 200 I made I Am Legend so I feel responsible for a lot of the misinformation and just as a family we've been sitting down and we've been talking," Will joked. "When I was preparing for I Am Legend, my character was a virologist so I had an opportunity in my preparation for the role to go to the CDC and there was a basic foundational comprehension of viruses and viral pathogens that I developed and it really changed my life and how I looked at the world. There's basic concepts that people do not understand."
Will went on to discuss the importance of social distancing, posing a hypothetical, yet possible, scenario. “Imagine that our local hospital can handle 40 respiratory patients at one time. And under normal circumstances, 40 respiratory patients, for that hospital, is a lot. You know, they’ll be at 12 or 15, so they can handle it,” Will explained. “The way the virus is moving and the reason why we need to practice social distancing and the idea of flattening the curve is if 50 people show up at that hospital at one time, to get 40 beds, right, now you have 10 people in critical condition that aren’t going to get help.”
“And your mortality rate shoots through the roof," he continued. "That’s the idea of overwhelming the system. So there is a certain amount of people that we can handle nationally to come in with critical respiratory issues at one moment.”
“So flattening the curve means not getting to 80 people at one time, we practice social distancing, the virus is going to move through humanity. But as it moves through, we want it to move through at 30 people at a time for our local hospital, not 60 people at a time for our local hospital, because then we have a real problem," Will shared.
Watch the full Smith family Red Table Talk below.
As of late Thursday morning, there were more than 10,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, according to CNN. At least 152 have died
To keep up to date on the latest news about the coronavirus and to understand what you need to stay safe and healthy, check out the Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction podcast from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
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