Kumail Nanjiani Says Tom Hanks' Coronavirus Diagnosis Was The Coronavirus Turning Point

Tom Hanks and Kumail Nanjiani on coronavirus 2020

Everyone in the United States is coping with the rapid spread of the latest coronavirus, aka Covid-19 right now. This is true of both celebrities and regular people, although a few names have been in the news related to coronavirus more than most. Among these are Eternals actor Kumail Nanjiani and Tom Hanks, the former because he has an immunocompromised partner and the latter because he actually caught the coronavirus. Now Nanjiani has shared his thoughts on Hanks and the moment attitudes in society changed.

Kumail Nanjiani and his partner Emily V. Gordon recently got back into podcasting with “Staying In,” a prospect I find delightful. If you haven’t been keeping tabs on their story, it’s been told through the movie The Big Sick, but her autoinflammatory disease has come up again thanks to the fact she's at a higher risk of coronavirus complications.

Obviously both Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon are at heightened awareness of what’s happening in the world thanks to her battle with Still’s disease, and now they are sharing their views on how the saw events unfolding. In fact, Nanjiani credits Tom Hanks with being open about his diagnosis and that changing attitudes.

About three weeks ago, Emily was at a friend’s house and I’d sort of been following this Coronavirus as sort of a thing. And I’d heard it only affects people who are old… all that stuff. Just sort of stuff I’d tune it out. This was about 3-4 weeks ago. I would say in American consciousness of this virus there are two periods. There’s the time before Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson got the virus and the time after.

He makes a point. The period after Tom Hanks was diagnosed coincided with local governments really starting to take notice and take the idea of a pandemic a little more seriously. Not to take away from his opinion, but for me personally the real “omg” moment was after Rudy Gobert tested positive and the NBA decided to shut down.

That happened on March 11. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson both announced they had tested positive for Covid-19 on March 12. So, at the very least these notable events are somewhat interconnected.

The point is, it certainly did not hurt things that Tom Hanks came out publicly and was open and honest with fans during his quarantine period. It’s something his friend and former co-star Kevin Bacon has touched on as well.

During the “Staying In With Emily And Kumail” podcast, Kumail Nanjiani also mentioned he has been singing about Tom Hanks and his coronavirus impact for a while, with a little help from the Jetsons theme song.

Kumail: I would say, there’s the pre-Hanks/Wilson era and then the post Hanks/Wilson era. Say ‘pre-Hanks/Wilson, like meet George Jetson.’Emily: No, it’s true. Like in our house, Kumail will just out of nowhere and I will be sitting silently or separately in the house and I’ll just hear, ‘Pre-Hanks/Wilson!’ [to Jetsons theme song]

Obviously, the Jetsons commented is a lighthearted take on what is going on in the world, but the point is, in some ways we are all connected due to coronavirus, whether or not it was Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson who initially got the ball rolling.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.