Coronavirus numbers spike puts Hollywood’s back-to-work plans in trouble.
According to CBS News, COVID-19 cases spike 41% in three weeks. In addition, the number of COVID-19 patients in the ICU is up 35% in the last two weeks, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The county’s Department of Public Health issued a statement on Saturday stating that if the numbers continue to rise, the amount of ICU beds in the county would likely become scarce in the near future.
Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, testified before Congress sounding the alarm around the growing number of Coronavirus COVID-19 infections. Sen. Elizabeth Warren asked Fauci, who is the leading infectious disease expert, asked what will happen if the cases int he United States continue to spike.
“We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day,” Fauci said. “I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around. And so I am very concerned.”
The implications suggest hospitals going over-capacity, states implementing strict quarantines, and shutting down the economy again for an indefinite period of time. The potential future of the entertainment industry, which has left hundreds of thousands of people unemployed, is in jeopardy as the filming has shutdown across the country.
Many shows started resuming productions under the assumption COVID-19 cases were dropping across the country and it would provide a safe environment for productions to resume filming. However, COVID-19 cases dramatically increased. Over the weekend, over 10,000 people were infected with the Coronavirus in Florida. Meanwhile, Georgia’s film industry is preparing to resume filming in the next few months. In Los Angeles, there are over 100,000 total cases.
One film executive told Variety, that production is something “the town is going to have to power through unless an outbreak shuts them down.” The executive pointed to “existential-level anxiety” about “committing to making content for our livelihoods in spite of it.”
One executive spoke with Variety saying, “Obviously, from the studio’s perspective, from a bunch of people who are looking at their quarterly numbers and not going to be on set, there’s a tremendous desire of ‘We’ve got to go go go go go,’” said this exec. “Your natural bent as a producer is, like, ‘Great, let’s go!’ We want to get stuff going. But, you know, I think the producers and certainly the filmmakers and the actors are all like, ‘OK, it’s all well and good to have these hypothetical ideas, but safety is paramount.’”
There is also a concern of politics in certain states. “People are really suspicious of the political leadership in those states,” a production executive told Variety. “Frankly, what’s the compliance going to be now that this whole wearing masks thing has become politicized? So I think there’s a real reluctance to want to A, get on a plane, and B, expose yourself to something that feels much higher risk.”
Then, there is a problem with filming on sets for prolonged periods of time. Showrunner Michelle King from ‘The Good Fight’ explained in the Variety roundtable, “We’re having to write toward filming on our sets, but then every health provider can agree on only a few things, and that’s that you don’t want to be indoors with a lot of people for long periods of time — which is filming on a stage. It really is a conundrum…there’s nothing to talk about if you can’t be on a stage. That is crucial.”
As the Coronavirus continues to spike, productions are leaving the United States and filming in Europe, where COVID-19 infections are lower. As we previously reported, the UK government announced big budget movies can skip quarantines and start filming ASAP.
Meanwhile, Christopher Miller, co-founder of the production company Lord Miller with Phil Lord, tweeted on June 25, “There are a bunch of movies and shows that are hoping to start production soon (including some of ours) but they won’t be able to go if the COVID numbers keep rising. So if you want fresh new content please wear a damn mask and help stop the spread!”
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