But on TV, the late-night hosts were fighting fear with comedy.
NBC’s Seth Meyers lamented that the nation’s health and safety were now in the hands of President Donald Trump... or, as he put it, a “mentally incontinent game show host who’s incapable of thinking of anything other than his own self-interest.”
Meyers ripped into Trump for saying that “in theory” the virus will “miraculously” go away in spring as the weather warms up.
“No one ever says ‘in theory’ followed by the word ‘miraculously.’ That just proves how bad your theory is,” he said, then went into his Trump impersonation: “In theory, she’ll catch me having an affair, and it will miraculously make our marriage stronger.”
On the “Late Show,” definitely “not panicking” host Stephen Colbert broke out his surgical gloves. Then asked for someone to burn them... “and then burn the person who burned them.”
And later in the segment, he broke out his plague bell:
Colbert wasn’t alone with the protective gear.
Trevor Noah on “The Daily Show” had his own surgical mask as his on-screen graphic asked: ‘Is this how we die?’”
But Noah mockingly praised the virus for its stance on equality.
“It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, from China and Spain to Saudi Arabia and Japan, the coronavirus is going after everybody, which is really scary,” he said. “And also really woke.”
He cracked that the virus is more diverse than the Oscars: “Everyone gets a chance.”
Jimmy Kimmel cracked that the “stock market is down and the coronavirus is up; this planet is going to Purell in handbasket.”
Then, he ripped Trump for a move two years ago that’s making it harder to fight the virus today.
“This is a funny joke, too: Back in May of 2018, to save money the Trump administration disbanded the U.S. pandemic response team,” he said. “Although to be fair who could’ve ever seen something like that coming in handy?”