Covid-19 Caste System — Coming to a Set Near You?

How is life on a Hollywood set post COVID-19? In light of Tom Cruise’s recent freak out on a shoot for Mission: Impossible 7, I decided to find out.

Cruise, 58, made headlines on Tuesday, December 15, when The Sun published a recording of him screaming at the film’s crew for not following COVID-19 protocols.

“They’re back there in Hollywood making movies right now because of us,” he reportedly said in the audio clip. “I’m on the phone with every f—king studio at night, insurance companies, producers. They are looking at us and using us to make their movies. We are creating thousands of jobs, you mother—kers.” Medication Madness: Th... Peter R. Breggin M.D. Best Price: $5.50 Buy New $12.95 (as of 07:00 UTC - Details)

Publicity stunt to whip employees into shape? Or exaggerated fear for a virus less fatal than the flu?

Tinseltown, which was mostly shut down from March to June, has received approximately 3,552 film permit applications spanning 2,514 unique projects over the past 20 weeks for location shooting in the Los Angeles area alone.

Although many notable TV and film productions have now returned back to set, things are vastly different under the Rona Regime. Think new protocols that involve rapid testing, socially distant crews, thermometer checks, the use of PPE, regular sanitation like having crewmembers dashing over to squirt an alcohol-based spritzer around actors, and COVID-19 compliance officers, among other measures.

Different is one word for it.

“The whole thing’s so eerie and odd and disconcerting,” Meryl Streep recently told Stephen Colbert on his Late Show.

Zones, Bracelets, & Pods, Oh My

“There’s always been a hierarchy but nothing like this. Now it’s crazy,” says Reet Tarted, a seasoned grip of 15 years who has been working on a Lions Gate-produced Netflix show.

Not only are there different zones with their own colored-coded bracelets, each area also has its own bathrooms and areas to congregate. Plastic bubble pods serve as ‘holding areas’ for let’s say extras.

“It’s like hanging out in a bubbled dollhouse,” says Tarted.

The “Orange Zone” consists of most people who go on set when the talent has cleared. Orange people get tested three times a week. Meanwhile, the Blue Zone is for nonessential workers who don’t need to go on set regularly; they only get tested once a week.

“It’s for people who are disposable, like the set painter,” jokes Tarted.

The “Purple Zone” is made up of core crew members like the director along with anyone who needs to come into ‘close contact’ with performers like a makeup artist or a costume designer. Unlike most, actors get to remove their literal mask when the director calls “Action” for a proverbial one. Because, after all, the coronavirus is so intelligent, it knows when to go into suspended animation.

Because Tarted was infected with a mild case of Covid19 while on set, he’s now considered “safe” to enter the “Purple Zone” for the next three months. His color-coded bracelet gives him access.

“I used to get tested five days a week as a purple zone person but now that I have antibodies so I never get tested anymore. I am impervious. I am glad I got the virus. They were initially using nasal swabs but they were too invasive; they now stick a swab down our throats.”

Tarted got infected along with one leading actress and 10 other crew members, prompting the production to close down for three weeks. He thinks being around extras is what got them sick, but I personally think it was the PCR swab test since there have been a handful of people who I know got sick AFTER getting tested. Consider the first initial tests by the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control were tainted.

Tarted told me this particular Lions Gate production spends $175K a week on testing. The Truth About Statin... Barbara H. Roberts M.D. Best Price: $2.21 Buy New $7.05 (as of 06:30 UTC - Details)

Ryan Hodges, a seasoned dolly grip of 20 years, suspects that the people at the top manipulate the tests to make sure essential crew members get a pass into the Purple Zone. Because he operates the camera, he is considered essential to a shoot.

“Given the level of false positives of this non diagnostic tool called the RT PCR test, they can change the cycles to get the results they want,” says Hodges.

In a statement released on December 14, 2020 the World Health Organization finally owned up to what hundreds of thousands of doctors and medical professionals have been saying for months: the polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test for detection of SARS-CoV-2 is a hit and miss process, with way too many false positives.

“The UN body is now clearly looking to distance itself from the fatally flawed test as a growing number of lawsuits are processing through the courts exposing the insanity of relying on a test that even the inventor, Professor Kary B. Mullis, said it was never designed to diagnose diseases,” writes Principia Scientific.

An Oxford Science Paper and others state that “if a person has positive PCR test at a threshold of cycles of 35 or higher (happens in most laboratories in USA & Europe), the chances of a person being infected is less than 3%. The probability of a person receiving a false positive is 97% or higher.”

Regardless of the accuracy of the tests, there are no compliance officers who live on set to make sure people follow the rules.

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