watch Michael Stipe’s “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” coronavirus PSA
COVID-19 is resuscitating lots older pop culture back into the zeitgeist in the last couple weeks. Stephen Soderbergh's 2011 pandemic thriller Contagion became one of the most-rented movies on streaming services, and R.E.M.'s 32-year-old single "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" jumped back into the iTunes charts, and is currently at #26, between Dixie Chicks' "Gaslighter" and Doja Cat's "Say So."
Playing off the song's sudden resurgence, R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe has now shared a new coronavirus PSA on Tuesday night where he sings a little of the song, acapella, before giving us an update. “I do feel fine. I feel okay,” Michael says. “The important part of that lyric, that song title, is ‘As We Know It.’ We’re about to go through – we are going through something that none of us have ever encountered before and that is, of course, the coronavirus. And it’s real and it’s serious and it’s here.”
He then offers up four tips on how to handle ourselves during the pandemic: stay at home ("Happy St Patrick's Day, we'll celebrate in four months"); wash your hands for 20 seconds, often ("don't sing 'Happy Birthday' twice, it's too depressing, find some other song"); "act like you're already sick...you don't want to be within six feet of anyone else...you could pass it onto someone, then they pass it on to someone...you don't wanna be that guy, I don't wanna be that guy"; and finally "Be careful where you get your information from...I'm a former pop star! Don't trust social media," and then urging people to go to the CDC or trusted news services.
You can watch that below and Michael notes there's a longer version of it up on his website you can watch "if you're sadistic."