Entertainment·Video

Lady Gaga announces $35M raised to fight COVID-19 'catastrophe'

Lady Gaga appeared via video link at Monday's World Health Organization media briefing to announce that $35 million US has been raised to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. She also unveiled an upcoming TV and online special to honour health workers and raise people's spirits.

Singer also announces upcoming star-studded broadcast special to salute health care workers

"What you are doing is putting yourselves in harm's way to help the world and we all salute you," Lady Gaga said as she thanked health-care workers during the World Health Organization's media briefing on Monday. (World Health Organization/CBC)

Lady Gaga and advocacy organization Global Citizen announced on Monday that a group of philanthropists has raised $35 million US to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking via video link at the World Health Organization's media briefing, they also announced an upcoming TV and online special featuring a star-studded cast to thank front-line health care workers and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as to raise people's spirits. 

"This global pandemic is a catastrophe," Gaga said. "We are all so very grateful to all of the health care professionals across the country and around the world who are on the front lines during COVID-19." 

With the leadership of Global Citizen, Gaga said, the $35 million US was raised in seven days from dozens of corporate leaders and philanthropists around the world.

The money will go to WHO's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and will help increase access to personal protective equipment, bolster lab capacity for coronavirus tests and support research development, she said.   

WATCH | Lady Gaga thanks health care workers during WHO media briefing

Superstar Lady Gaga praises health workers and announces $35 million US raised to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 4:26

Gaga and Hugh Evans, CEO of Global Citizen, also announced that the special, One World: Together At Home, will air on April 18 at 8 p.m. ET simultaneously on ABC, NBC, CBS, iHeartMedia and Bell Media networks. It will also stream live on several online platforms, including YouTube, Apple, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The special, which is a partnership with WHO, will highlight people affected by COVID-19 and celebrate health care workers on the front lines.

"What you are doing is putting yourselves in harm's way to help the world, and we all salute you and you are a triumph, truly," Gaga said.  

"I'm also praying for those who are sick," Gaga said. "I would also like to send my prayers as well to people that are losing their jobs and having a hard time feeding themselves and their children."

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus thanked Gaga and Evans for their support. 

"We've consistently said that we're all in this pandemic together & we can only succeed as one. We need an all-of-society approach, with everyone playing their part, including the entertainment industry," Tedros tweeted. 

Gaga said she plans to raise more money, but explained that the special is not a fundraiser.

"We want to highlight the gravity of this historical, unprecedented cultural movement ... and we want to celebrate and encourage the power of the human spirit," she said.

"Put your wallets away," she said. "Sit back and enjoy the show you all deserve."

Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel will host One World: Together At Home, which will also include appearances by:

  • Paul McCartney
  • Elton John
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas
  • Alanis Morissette
  • David Beckham
  • John Legend
  • Eddie Vedder
  • Kerry Washington
  • Coldplay's Chris Martin
  • Lizzo
  • Green Day's Billy Joe Armstrong
  • J Balvin
  • Andrea Bocelli
  • Maluma
  • Priyanka Chopra Jonas
  • Lang Lang
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Shah Rukh Khan
  • Keith Urban
  • Burna Boy
  • Idris and Sabrina Elba, who both tested positive for coronavirus

For most people, COVID-19 — the illness caused by the novel coronavirus —  leads to mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death

With files from The Associated Press

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