While people all over the world are listening to guidance from health experts to stay home as much as possible, actress Evangeline Lilly said she and her family won't social distance or self-quarantine at home amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this week, the 40-year-old Lost star revealed on Instagram that she and her children would be tending to "business as usual" and attend activities like gymnastics class, despite conflicting advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As of March 19, the World Health Organization reported that there are more than 209,000 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus worldwide; in the United States, there are over 10,000 confirmed cases. Although the number of cases continues to grow, Lilly wrote that she's allowed her kids to leave the house and go to gymnastics camp.
"Just dropped my kids off at gymnastics camp," she captioned her Instagram post. "They all washed their hands before going in. They are laughing and playing. #businessasusual."
In the comments, after a follower asked if she's on "Corona House Arrest," like many are across the country, she responded, "Not for this family." In another response to a comment on her post, Lilly said she did not think the "facts" being given to the pubic "add up to the all-out, global lockdown, control pandemonia, and insanity we are all experiencing."
In yet another response to a follower, Lilly referred to COVID-19 as a "respiratory flu." Although more data is needed, health experts have cautioned that COVID-19 may be more dangerous than the flu. "It does have the potential to be just as bad, if not worse, in terms of the overall number of deaths and severe cases as seasonal flu," Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University, told NPR.
Lilly's comments promptly sparked backlash on social media. One follower wrote that she was "being extremely selfish and irresponsible with people's lives." Another said, "Most irresponsible thing I've read all day. Educate yourself please!" Romper has reached out to Lilly's rep, but did not receive an immediate response.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 is spread, mainly from person-to-person, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. As such, health officials recommend avoid close contact with people who are sick and putting "distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community."
Lisa Maragakis, M.D., M.P.H., senior director of infection prevention at Johns Hopkins, has said that practicing social distancing is an "essential" steps towards lessening in the impact of the virus. "The pandemic can seem overwhelming, but in truth, every person can help slow down the spread of COVID-19," she explained in a recent article from The Johns Hopkins University. "By doing your part, you can make a big difference to your health, and that of others around you."
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.