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Tom Hanks says it’s ‘a mystery to me’ why Americans don’t take COVID-19 seriously

Tom Hanks compared the battle with the coronavirus to World War II

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This Nov. 17, 2019 photo shows Tom Hanks posing for a portrait in New York. Hank’s latest film “Greyhound,” premieres this week on Apple TV Plus.

This Nov. 17, 2019 photo shows Tom Hanks posing for a portrait in New York. Hank’s latest film “Greyhound,” premieres this week on Apple TV Plus.

Matt Licari/Invision/AP

Tom Hanksappeared on the “Today” show for his first live interview since he and his wife, Rita Wilson, were infected with the novel coronavirus earlier this year.

What’s happening:

Hanks appeared on the “Today” show to talk about the coronavirus, calling on Americans to embrace guidelines and stop the spread.

  • “The idea of doing one’s part, though, should be so simple — wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands,” he said.
  • “That alone means you are contributing to the betterment of your house, your work, your town, your society as a whole, and it’s such a small thing. It’s a mystery to me how somehow that has been wiped out of what should be ingrained in the behavior of us all.”

Hanks promoted his new Apple Plus film — “Greyhound” — which takes place during World War II era.

He said World War II has lessons for modern America.

  • “What has lingered here is this societal question really of doing our part. Not everything I say has to be tied to somehow the war effort back during World War II, but there was a sensibility that permeated all of society, which was do your part, we’re all in this together.”

Taking precautions remains important, he said. Part of the country is following through. But common sense, he said, needs to help others.

  • “I think a huge majority of Americans get it. There’s no law against ignorance, it’s not illegal to have opinions that are wrong. There is a darkness on the edge of town here, folks. Let’s not confuse the fact, it’s killing people. I don’t know how common sense has somehow been put in question in regards to this.”

Earlier this month ...

Hanks talked about Americans wearing a mask during a virtual interview with reporters, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

There’s really only three things we can do in order to get to tomorrow: Wear a mask, social distance, wash our hands. Those things are so simple, so easy, if anybody cannot find it in themselves to practice those three very basic things — I just think shame on you. ... Get on with it, do your part. It’s very basic. If you’re driving a car, you don’t go too fast, you use your turn signal and you avoid hitting pedestrians. My Lord, it’s common sense.

Hanks encouraged people to wear masks.