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Tom Hanks, in first TV interview since coronavirus recovery, says doing one's part is 'so simple'

"Let’s not confuse the fact — it’s killing people," Hanks said on the "TODAY" show.
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Tom Hanks said on the "TODAY" show Tuesday that the acts people can take to prevent spreading the coronavirus are "simple."

"The idea of doing one's part should be so simple," Hanks said in his first television interview since he and his wife were diagnosed with COVID-19 in March.

"Wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands," Hanks said. "That alone means you are contributing to the betterment of your house, your work, your town, society as a whole and it’s such a small thing, and it’s a mystery to me how somehow that has been wiped out of what should be ingrained in the behavior of us all — simple things do your part."

Hanks said he thinks "a huge majority of Americans get it," but he's confounded by people who aren't taking the effects of the pandemic seriously.

"Let’s not confuse the fact — it’s killing people," Hanks said of coronavirus. "You can argue what the numbers are. ... It’s killing people."

Hanks, whose movie "Greyhound," adapted from the World War II novel "The Good Shepherd," premieres on Apple TV+ Friday, said the movie is "88 minutes of a thematic story that really does speak to what we’re all going through right now."

"There was a sensibility (during that time) that permeated all of society, which was, Do your part, we’re all in this together," Hanks said. "What that meant — doing your part — was there was a tiny bit of stuff that you could do in order to aid the ongoing status of an effort that had no sign of its conclusion."

Hanks, 63, posted on Instagram on March 11 that while in Australia, he and his wife, the actor and producer Rita Wilson, had come down with symptoms resembling a cold, as well as body aches and slight fevers.

"To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the coronavirus and were found to be positive," Hanks said in the post, before the U.S. began to see a staggering spike in cases.

Hanks said Tuesday he and his wife felt "rotten."

"I had body aches — crippling, crackling body aches," he said.

Hanks has Type 2 diabetes, and Wilson has survived breast cancer, and the couple was told that they could have additional complications from the virus.

Wilson and Hanks were in Australia while Hanks was working on an Elvis Presley biopic. Production of the film was postponed a few days later.

"We'll keep the world posted and updated," Hanks wrote in the post. And he did.

He twice thanked the health care workers and others taking care of him and Wilson while they were in isolation, and on March 16, the couple's son Chet said they had been released from the hospital and had moved to self-quarantine at their home in Australia. Two days later, Hanks said the two had "no fever but the blahs."

Hanks and Wilson returned to the U.S. at the end of March. And in mid-April, when "Saturday Night Live" returned for a "live from home" show, Hanks was the surprise host.

The actor called himself the "celebrity canary in the coal mine for coronavirus" and joked that he was thrown when medical workers in Australia took his temperature in Celsius.

"Turns out 36 is fine," Hanks said. "Thirty-eight is bad — how Hollywood treats female actors."