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Jada Pinkett Smith Calls Emergency ‘Red Table Talk’ for the Coronavirus, Expert Explains Why It’s Crucial to Protect the Health Care System

Jada Pinkett Smith held an emergency “Red Table Talk” on Wednesday, March 18, to address the coronavirus pandemic.

She was joined by her daughter and co-hosts Willow Smith, her mother Adrienne Banfield-Jones, as well as Will Smith and Will’s son Trey Smith

Jada Pinkett Smith created a special “Red Table Talk” to discuss the coronavirus. (Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

Jaden Smith, another son, chose to be absent since he’d been traveling and didn’t want to infect anyone, particularly Banfield-Jones.

The Smiths were also joined remotely by Michael Osterholm, the director for the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Plus, a 25-year-old woman who’s been infected with the coronavirus, Chiara Digiallorenzo, was a guest and spoke from a separate location as well.

“Just like other families around the world, we are trying to navigate through all the information out there about COVID-19,” said Pinkett Smith at the beginning of the nearly hour long episode.

A bit later, Will spoke about viruses in general, since he learned a lot about them through the CDC when he played a virologist in the 2007 film “I Am Legend.”

“A virus is essentially a micro-parasite, basically,” he explained. “So viruses use our cells to replicate themselves. A virus wants your whole body to be the virus. It grabs your cells and uses your cells to make more of itself, and that’s just what it wants to do.”

Will then talked about the importance of social distancing, so there can be less people infected, which would lessen the strain on the health care system.

“Imagine our local hospital can handle 40 respiratory patients at one time,” he said. “If 50 people show up at one time to get 40 beds, now you have 10 people in critical condition that aren’t going to get help.”

“The virus is going to move through humanity, meaning there may be the same number of sick people over time,” he added. “But with social distancing, new cases will be added more slowly, so fewer people are competing for hospital space at once. It’s no longer about stopping the virus; it’s about [preventing the fall of] hospital systems.”

Osterholm, who spoke afterward, said Will “nailed it” with his explanation and did a better job than most medical professionals.

He then expounded on Will’s point that it’s crucial to protect the health care system if things are expected to improve.

“Our health care systems have been taking more and more capability out of the system because it costs money,” said Osterholm. “Today there aren’t extra beds. There aren’t extra ventilators around. There’s not great capacity.”

“Now all of a sudden, we need to protect our health care workers so they can take care of us,” he added. “When a health care worker gets sick and goes from being a care provider to someone who needs care, that is a big hit on the system.”

The second part of “Red Table Talk” covering the coronavirus will be streamed on Facebook on March 23, at noon EDT. 

It will mainly focus on how people can mentally and emotionally cope with the current situation.

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