Italian influencer Chiara Ferragni called out Kendall Jenner on Instagram for her posts downplaying the coronavirus threat, imploring her to not “underestimate the problem and spread the wrong message” to her millions of fans.
Ferragni, a model, blogger, and designer, lambasted the reality TV star after Jenner posted a series of infographics about coronavirus taken from a website called Information Is Beautiful. The graphics suggest “the majority of cases are mild” and “the bulk of people recover.”
Jenner’s posts fail to mention that the disease, since declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, has sickened more than 137,000 people worldwide, killing more than 5,000.
“We have some bad news to report from Italy,” which has the world’s second-highest number of coronavirus cases after China, Ferragni said in the first of the series of posts on her Instagram story on Thursday. “Since yesterday, we have 2,600 more cases and the situation is really getting out of control because there are so many complications connected to this disease, especially breathing problems.”
On “most days, especially from foreigners,” Ferragni said, she reads “so many bad comments and so many jokes about coronavirus saying, ‘It’s just a fucking flu.’ And guys, I can assure you, it’s not just a fucking flu.”
It might be for some people, but for so many others, it gives so many complications. If so many people get sick at the same time, like it’s happening in Italy, the hospital will collapse because we don’t have enough intensive care units and breathing machines to help everybody — even young people that have complications.
Ferragni then called out Jenner specifically, tellings fans “it’s so important to spread the right messages right away and raise awareness.”
“So, people that have such a huge voice like Kendall Jenner, please don’t underestimate the problem... Please say what is right,” she said.
Ferragni followed up with an Instagram post featuring a series of messages that echoed her sentiments.
“From a huge voice, comes a huge responsibility. I’m trying my best to help my country and do what’s right for the people because I feel it’s my responsibility. Please do the same,” she wrote, imploring fans to learn from Italy’s “mistake” in initially underestimating the virus.
Jenner has not publicly responded to Ferragni’s posts.
Ferragni has been outspoken about doing more to help those in need as the coronavirus continues to spread. She and her husband personally donated 100,000 euros (about $110,780) to a fundraiser “aimed at creating new hospital beds in the intensive care area of Milan’s San Raffaele hospital,” according to Women’s Wear Daily. The campaign has raised a total of about $2.21 million.