Golden Girls alum Betty White is a beloved American icon who is 98 years old. After the news broke that “America’s Dad” – 63-year-old Tom Hanks – had contracted the coronavirus, social media immediately went nuts wondering about the safety of White.
The outpouring of concern was so large on Wednesday night that her name was trending on Twitter, so a representative for the legendary actress issued a statement on The Today Show to assure fans that “Betty White is fine.”
EVERYONE ON EARTH, BETTY WHITE IS DOING FINE. I REPEAT, BETTY WHITE IS DOING FINE. https://t.co/GKlH7kWIq7
— MattieTragik (@MatishaTragik) March 13, 2020
“Someone get Betty White into her own quarantine… we can’t lose her #CoronaOutbreak,” wrote a concerned fan, while another added, “PLEASE quarantine #BettyWhite. I’ll send all my sanitizer if it means keeping out national treasure safe #CoronavirusOutbreak.”
A third fan voiced their concern by writing: “Betty White trending … I panicked. We must protect her at all costs.”
Since both Hanks and White are over the age of 60, they are both part of the demographic that is the most vulnerable to the coronavirus. According to the CDC, those who are in that 60+ age group with underlying medical conditions – like Hanks’ Type 2 diabetes – have the biggest risk of suffering severe complications due to COVID-19.
Earlier this week – before President Trump declared a national state of emergency – an official from the CDC told those who are over the age of 60 and those who suffered from chronic medical conditions to prepare to stay at home for a while.
BETTY WHITE IS FINE. I REPEAT, BETTY WHITE IS FINE. SHE LAUGHS IN THE FACE OF DEADLY PLAGUE. pic.twitter.com/zUarsTIJIw
— How we gonna praaa-aa-ay this year's Lent (@smoricebrubaker) March 12, 2020
“This seems to be a disease that affects adults and most seriously older adults,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “Starting at age 60, there is an increasing risk of disease and the risk increases with age.”
Betty White is a television pioneer who started her career back in 1939 when she got a job at a local TV and radio station in Los Angeles just one month before she graduated from Beverly Hills High School.
The three-time Emmy winner starred on the classic sitcoms The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls. She also made regular appearances on The Carol Burnett Show and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
In recent years, Betty White has become popular with a new generation for her roles in both film and TV, including last year’s Toy Story 4 and the TV Land sitcom Hot In Cleveland, which ran for five seasons between 2010 and 2015.