The actor says he was 'motivated' by Tom Hanks to speak up.

By Nick Romano
March 17, 2020 at 04:57 PM EDT

When Idris Elba was diagnosed with coronavirus, he thought, "This is it. This is how we kick it." But the 47-year-old turned those fears into optimism.

On Tuesday, the actor offered an update on his condition after self-isolating himself, a move he made as he announced to the world on Monday that he tested positive for COVID-19. Thanking his fans for the positive, supportive messages over the last 24 hours, Elba said he was "motivated" by Tom Hanks, who was one of the first celebrities with wife Rita Wilson to reveal his positive coronavirus diagnosis.

"I'm really proud of Tom Hanks who's also someone in the public eye... I was definitely motivated by Tom's move there, but also I think, there's some transparency given to the situation when someone like Tom or myself is in this situation," he explained. "I'm worried that people aren't talking to each other about it, I'm worried that people are going to stigmatize other people, I'm worried that we're gonna panic and send the whole world into a spin."

As of Tuesday, when Elba hosted a live video stream for his Twitter followers, the Hobbs & Shaw star said both he and wife Sabrina Dhowre Elba are "doing good."

"More than anything," he added, "just talking about it with you guys has kept us a little bit more... optimistic. We at one point we were [thinking], 'Our lives are over. This is it. This is how we kick it,' but at the same time realizing that the more we look at coronavirus and realize that it is a virus like many others that the human race survived... nobody knows too much about this virus. So, we felt a lot more optimistic that more people were talking about it and what their experiences [were]. And now we definitely want to be vocal and transparent."

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Elba said that, on March 4, he met with someone "in the public eye" who would be reported to have contracted coronavirus days later. On Friday, March 13, he was informed of this person's diagnosis. While "on location about to start a film," Elba was provided a test. He then self-quarantined himself inside his "house on location" while awaiting the results. Sabrina is currently awaiting the results of her own coronavirus tests, but Elba said she is also in good condition.

"My temperature is fine. I don't have a fever," he said. "I have asthma, so I fit in the high category of most at risk. I have a respiratory issue and I've had asthma all my life, so catching corona was definitely not on my bucket list at all, but even my asthma is okay. I don't feel any restriction within my breathing or my lungs." He assured his fans that he's not on medication because there's nothing currently to medicate. Though, on his doctor's suggestion, he's drinking a lot of fluids — specifically hot water.

Elba emphasized the importance of "facts" about coronavirus and to "understand the truth so that we can protect ourselves." He specifically called out a myth he saw spreading online that suggested black people can't contract COVID-19. "That is the quickest way to get more black people killed and I'm talking about the whole world. Wherever we are, you can get it."

Elba also acknowledged how "lucky" he and Sabrina were to have received the coronavirus test. "We are supremely aware that not many people can get tests," he said. He further hopes self-isolation can be used as an "opportunity to stop and think about what's going on in our world, think about the energies that we're putting out to each other."

"This disease doesn't see any borders and doesn't discriminate," he said. "So, I think that's really important that we take a moment."

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