Talk show hosts nearly across the board have had to find ways to broadcast their shows from home this month during the coronavirus crisis. And that includes Oprah Winfrey.
This week, Winfrey launched Oprah Talks COVID-19, and among her first guests was actor Idris Elba, one of the first celebrities to reveal he had tested positive for the virus. It was his first major interview since posting the news on social media early last week.
Skyping in from New Mexico where he was about to start filming a movie and has been quarantined ever since, Elba said he has been “avoiding the mainstream media” but trusted Winfrey to take a “journalistic” approach to their interview.
“I’m OK,” he told her. “I feel fine.”
He explained that he has been almost entirely symptom-free with no fever and some shortness of breath that he attributes to the high altitude more than the virus itself. “If I’m really honest, it’s been incredible to just sit still,” he added. “I never sit still and so from a mental point of view, I feel pretty focused.”
Elba pushed back on some of the “conspiracy theories” about the virus, explaining that it became all too “real” for him when he got his positive test result. But he also accused “the media” of “scaremongering” and framing the crisis in an overly “dramatic” way.
“Had I not been on a film set, I don’t think I would have been able to get a test as easily as I did,” Elba said later, acknowledging the special treatment that celebrities have been receiving during the crisis. Despite not showing any symptoms, he was tested and given a chance to get any necessary treatment and prevent the spread by quarantining himself.
The actor’s wife, Sabrina Dhowre, revealed during the interview that she too had tested positive for the coronavirus. And she explained why she decided not to self-quarantine separately from her husband.
“I could have made the decision to put myself, maybe, in a separate room or stay away, and I’m sure that people are making those decisions. And they’re tough decisions to make,” she said. “But I made the decision to want to be with him and, you know, still touch him.”
Toward the end of the interview, Elba got philosophical as he seemed to draw a link between the coronavirus and climate change. “Our world has taken a kicking,” he said. “We’ve damaged our world and it’s no surprise that our world is reacting to the human race. It’s no surprise that a virus has been created that is going to slow us down. And ultimately make us think differently about our world and ourselves.”
“Maybe this is it for the world,” he added ominously.