Gwyneth Paltrow, star of ‘Contagion,’ makes coronavirus joke: ‘I’ve already been in this movie’

Leave it to Hollywood to make light of the deadly serious coronavirus situation.

Gwyneth Paltrow, who starred in the movie “Contagion” in 2011, posted a photo of herself on Instagram on Wednesday, showing her wearing a face mask while aboard an airplane.

“En route to Paris,” she writes. “Paranoid? Prudent? Panicked? Placid? Pandemic? Propaganda? Paltrow’s just going to go ahead and sleep with this thing on the plane.

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“I’ve already been in this movie,” she adds. “Stay safe. Don’t shake hands. Wash hands frequently.”

Paltrow's mask appeared to be a model that sells for $99, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Actress Kate Hudson posted a similar shot of herself, but with the seemingly more sober caption, “Travel. 2020.”

Movie fans know that in “Contagion,” directed by Steven Soderbergh, Paltrow’s character dies of a mysterious illness after returning home from a business trip. The origins of the virus are eventually revealed, but not before the fictional contagion has wreaked havoc across the globe.

But this year’s coronavirus outbreak is no movie. The spread of the virus, also called COVID-19, has infected more than 82,000 people worldwide and caused some 2,800 deaths, according to health officials.

Trump reassures nation

On Wednesday evening, President Trump sought to reassure the nation that efforts were underway to combat the spread of the virus in the United States.

“Because of all we've done, the risk to the American people remains very low," the president said. “We're ready to adapt, and we're ready to do whatever we have to.”

“Because of all we've done, the risk to the American people remains very low. We're ready to adapt, and we're ready to do whatever we have to.”

— President Trump

Nevertheless, effects of the outbreak have already been seen in the stock market and in stocks of medical supplies, such as surgical and respiratory masks. Wall Street has seen numbers slide in recent days, and masks and other items such as hand sanitizer have been in short supply – but in some cases prices have been going up, with government officials warning about price gouging.

Role of face masks

But anyone looking to buy masks should know that the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that masks are better for preventing infected people from spreading the virus rather than protecting healthy people from catching it.

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“The role of facemasks is for patient source control, to prevent contamination of the surrounding area when a person coughs or sneezes,” the CDC website says. “Patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should wear a facemask until they are isolated in a hospital or at home. The patient does not need to wear a facemask while isolated.”

The CDC has also posted advice on Instagram:

If you believe you need a mask in a hurry, the Twitter page of Half Engineer shows how to make a makeshift version:

Fox News' Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this story.