Epidemiologist Ian Lipkin, who served as the medical consultant on Steven Soderbergh’s Hollywood drama “Contagion”, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
The movie, about the spread of a highly contagious and deadly virus, has come back in public consciousness as the world grapples with the coronavirus. The film, predictably, is enjoying a spike in popularity.
Lipkin, 68, revealed he had tested positive for the virus during an interview with Fox Business. He said he had an idea of where he contacted the virus but declined to elaborate further, reported IndieWire.
“I would like to say on this show tonight, this has become very personal to me, too. Because I have COVID as of yesterday. It’s miserable. If it can hit me, it can hit anybody. That’s the message I want to convey,” he said during the interview.
“It’s extraordinarily important that we harmonize whatever restrictions we have across the country. We have porous borders between states and cities and unless we’re consistent, we’re not gonna get ahead of this thing…What New York, Chicago and Washington have done has been very, very helpful and I would like to see that implemented broadly across the United States,” he said.
Lipkin, who serves as the director of Columbia University’s Center for Infection and Immunity, was one of the leading figures in the scientific studies of the West Nile virus and the SARS coronavirus in the early 2000s.
He had also visited China in January during the coronavirus breakout there and had self-isolated himself for two weeks. Lipkin warned about the virus turning out to be a pandemic, which it has become, spreading to different countries around the globe.
Lipkin had agreed to work on Soderbergh’s movie because the filmmaker promised to accurately “represent the science” behind the spread of a virus. According to Johns Hopkins twebsite, the total number of coronavirus cases stand at 436,159 globally. The epidemic has killed 19648 people around the world since it first emerged in China in December.