Dr. Ian Lipkin, virologist at Columbia University's Center for Infection and Immunity as well as medical consultant on the film Contagion, has tested positive for COVID-19. Lipkin shared the news during an appearance on Fox Business on Tuesday where he spoke about ongoing research on the disease and the coronavirus that causes it. Lipkin used the opportunity to remind people that anyone can contract COVID-19 -- even a virologist such as himself.
"If it can hit me, it can hit anybody," Lipkin said, describing his current condition as "miserable".
Lipkin also said that where he specifically contracted the virus was unimportant given how widespread it is at this time.
"This virus can be found all over the United States," he said. "You can get it anywhere."
He also addressed the spread of the coronavirus across the country as well as the best way to attempt to stop it.
"We really don’t know when we’re going to get this under control," said Lipkin, who called for harmonizing restrictions 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."
"The best tool we have is isolation and confinement," said Lipkin.0comments
Lipkin served as a medical consultant on Steven Soderbergh 2011 pandemic thriller Contagion. Contagion centers around the spread of a virus that is brought back to the United States from Hong Kong by a woman (Gwyneth Paltrow) who dies shortly after developing cold and flu-like symptoms. Her son also dies, but her husband, played by Matt Damon, is immune and survives. The disease soon spreads to others the woman had contact with and in short order, there's a devastating global pandemic with a huge global death toll. The film has since become very popular and, as of last week, was the second-hottest movie in the Warner Bros. catalog as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
As of the time of this writing, there have been 375,498 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 16,362 confirmed deaths worldwide, spanning 196 countries areas or territories according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Canada accounts for 1,739 of those confirmed cases and 25 of the deaths while the United States accounted for 49,619 confirmed cases and 615 deaths.