Idris Elba attends the premiere of Universal Pictures’ “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” on July 13, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
Idris Elba attends the premiere of Universal Pictures’ “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” on July 13, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
Photo: Emma McIntyre (Getty Images)

Today is canceled.

Idris Elba has confirmed that he has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus strain. The 47-year-old actor confirmed the news via his personal social media page on Monday afternoon.

“This morning I tested positive for COVID-19,” he wrote in the caption. “I feel ok, I have no symptoms so far but have been isolated since I found out about my possible exposure to the virus.”

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In the video, where he was joined by his loving wife Sabrina, Elba explained that while he was asymptomatic, he was tested on Friday after being exposed to another person who tested positive for the virus. The other person was unnamed, though speculation has begun online.

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He has been in isolation since finding out the news. He also noted that Sabrina hadn’t been tested at the time of the video. He seemingly appeared to be in hopeful spirits, as he urged everyone else to take necessary precautions.

“Look, this is serious,” he noted. “Now is the time to really think about social distancing, washing your hands.”

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This news comes soon after the other big announcement that universally beloved stars Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson tested positive for COVID-19, as well. Though ridiculous and foolhardy as it may seem to a sound mind, celebrities are often thought of as “too important” to be subjected to tragedy or major illnesses, so the news that ultimately reminds us of their humanity (and thus, their mortality) typically smacks us in the face. Very Smart Brothas’ Damon Young expressed this phenomenon perfectly when discussing his anxiety with flying, in relation to Kobe Bryant’s death.

There are no direct flights from L.A. to Pittsburgh (well, there’s Spirit, but it’s ... Spirit), so I had a layover in Charlotte, N.C. It happened to be the Friday before NBA All-Star weekend, which happened to be in Charlotte last year. Dozens of NBA-related people, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, were also on my flight, and my anxiety-alleviating rationale was, well, morbid.

“Well, if Kareem’s on this flight, I’m gonna be fine, because he’s too important to die in a random plane crash.”

Of the medley of strange and sad thoughts circulating through me today, one that I haven’t been able to escape is the possibility that the other passengers on that helicopter, his daughter Gianna included, assumed a similar sort of metaphysical protection because they happened to be riding with Kobe. Things like that just aren’t supposed to happen to people like him. It doesn’t fit within the ecosystem of mental and emotional negotiations necessary to exist without driving yourself mad. And this, I think, is the other thing that makes this death so stunning: It doesn’t make sense. It does, but it doesn’t.

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Naturally, Twitter reacted with a mixture of shock, concern, hope and prayer for Elba.

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“Now is the time for thinking about each other,” Elba concluded. Indeed. The Root team sends our well wishes to Elba and his family for his speedy recovery.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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