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R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe is here to remind us that it is not the end of the world as we know it.
In a video that has been shared on Stipe’s official website, the R.E.M. lead vocalist performs a few lines of his group’s iconic 1987 tune, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine),” before he addresses viewers watching.
“I do feel fine. I feel okay,” he shares. “The important part of that lyric, that song title, is ‘as we know it.’ We’re about to go through, we are going through something that none of us have ever encountered before and that is, of course, the coronavirus. And it’s real and it’s serious and it’s here.”
The rocker goes on to remind viewers to stay home and to be cautious of the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic.
Adding that he’s taking advice from his friends in Italy, Stipe shares, “I’m bunkering. I’m quarantining. I’m Q.S.Q – quasi self-quarantined for several days now and that’s going to continue because I don’t want to go outside, I don’t want to be responsible for getting someone else sick if I’m already sick. I don’t think I am, but none of us know if we are.”
He then pleads with viewers to stay home before sharing his few rules for dealing with this pandemic.
The first step he shares is to wash your hands for 20 seconds, adding, “Don’t sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice, it’s already depressing and sad. Find another song, a good, happy, calming song. Your blue sky song and do that.”
His second step is to act as though you are already contagious. He then reminded people not to go out unless they have to and if they do need groceries, to stay six feet away from everyone else and don’t cough or sneeze in public.
Next, Stipe tells people to be careful where they get their information from.
“Go to the CDC, go to trusted news sources. Don’t trust social media to tell you what is or is not scary or contagious or weird.”
There are now at least 5,881 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States and 107 people in the U.S. have died from coronavirus-related illness, an increase of 21 over the last 24 hours.