Experts have called the 20,506 deaths in the U.S. “an underestimation.”
A month after shutting down production because of the coronavirus, Saturday Night Live made a surreal return with a remote episode that featured cast members appearing via video from their apartments.
And the show could hardly have picked a more appropriate host than actor Tom Hanks, one of the first major celebrities to test positive for the disease, who opened the unprecedented experiment in late-night television with a sobering monologue from his kitchen.
Hey, its good to be here, though it is also very weird to be here hosting Saturday Night Live from home, said Hanks.
The 63-year-old Oscar winner and his wife, Rita Wilson, were diagnosed with covid-19 in Australia last month and have been recovering at home in the United States.
I have been the celebrity canary in the coal mine for the coronavirus, he said. And ever since being diagnosed, I have been more like Americas dad than ever before, since no one wants to be around me very long and I make people uncomfortable.
Hanks acknowledged the shows unorthodox format on Saturday and offered some reassuring words to the legions of Americans who have spent weeks shut in their houses with no real end in sight.
Theres no such thing as Saturdays any more. Its just, everyday is today. And were not really live, but we are doing everything we can to make this feel like the SNL you know and love, Hanks said. Now, is it going to look a little different than what youre used to? Will it be weird to see sketches without big sets and costumes? Sure, but will it make you laugh? Eh, you know, its SNL.
He concluded with a hopeful message.
Stay safe, Hanks told his virtual audience. We are in this for the duration. And we will get through this together.