Could Have Taken Better Precautions To Avoid Infection, But Sabrina Elba Wasn’t “Dumb” For Standing By Idris Through COVID-19

March 23, 2020  |  

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When actor Idris Elba revealed last week that he had been diagnosed with COVID-19 after coming into contact with someone who had recently been diagnosed (that person reportedly being Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau), one of the most memorable things about his Twitter announcement was that his wife, Sabrina, stayed close by his side. Very close.

While the 47-year-old actor stayed relatively positive about everything, noting he had no symptoms, his wife seemed quite pensive throughout the clip. It’s understandable. Her husband was diagnosed with a very scary virus that could either hit him very hard or barely shake him up. Not to mention, Idris is an asthma sufferer, which is one of the pre-existing conditions doctors have said could leave one at risk for severe illness if they contracted COVID-19. Whatever her thoughts on the matter, it was clear she was going to stay by his side throughout whatever was going to happen. And I mean, whatever.

So there shouldn’t have been any shock or confusion or disappointment when it was revealed over the weekend that she too had the virus. They announced the news while speaking with Oprah Winfrey via FaceTime for her Apple TV special, Oprah Talks: COVID-19. During that conversation, Sabrina responded to critics who wondered why she stayed so close to Idris after knowing he’d contracted it.

“I could have made the decision to put myself, maybe, in a separate room or stay away, and I’m sure that people are making those decisions. And they’re tough decisions to make,” she said. “But I made the decision to want to be with him and, you know, still touch him.”

Comments poured in on social media with people calling her “dumb” and all sorts of labels tied to “foolish” because she chose to stay quarantined with her husband in a way that didn’t involve much distancing. As one woman put it on Instagram,  “I’m not risking my health for my husband or any man. No matter how handsome he is.”

I could understand people feeling like, with the extent of how bad this virus could get not being known to us, she should have tried to sequester herself. But maybe, not knowing how bad it could get and not knowing how Idris might be affected dealing with the virus, she wanted to be there to help care for him if necessary and support him. I’m not exactly sure what makes her stupid for that. Are you really running for the hills away from your husband in such a situation? And would you be okay if he ran away from you if you got it?

She could have possibly been on the crazy side if they had children in the household together that they needed to tend to, but they don’t. His daughter and son, from prior relationships, are probably isolated with their mothers. And with it being unclear how long we will all need to stay indoors, it’s not far-fetched that she would want to be in the same household with her husband until further notice. In addition to that, it’s likely that she was exposed to what he’d been exposed to before his contact was diagnosed and Idris chose to be tested. That being said, she probably already had an inkling that she had it, so why leave?

It was reported last week in New York City, where our numbers are skyrocketing, that at this point, many of us should just assume that we’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus. A woman at my husband’s job on the other side of his floor contracted it. An email was sent last week sharing that one of our own co-workers had been exposed to someone who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and come into the office after the fact. Nevertheless, we are together, and most people in relationships are isolated with their partners and want to be, because in the midst of a major crisis like this, who would want to be elsewhere? However, staying close to your loved one doesn’t mean you need to open up yourself to what they have. She went wrong in that video alone when she was touching her face, including her mouth, giving the impression that off-camera, she probably does that a lot. Standing by your man is fine, but taking precautions seriously while doing so allows you to support him while also not sacrificing your own health. Some vigorous hand washing, going to another bedroom and focus on not touching her face maybe could have gone a long way.

But for Sabrina, it’s evident that she was looking out for him more than feeling like she needed to bail on him to look out for herself. She was committed to being with him, to helping him see the virus through, even if that put her at risk, too. I wouldn’t necessarily call that noble, but I wouldn’t call that stupid. I just see it as her defining her duties as his wife in a way that works for her, even if it’s not the move for anyone else.

“I wanted to be with him.,” as she explained to Oprah. “That’s the instinct of a wife. You want to go and take care.”

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