It almost sounds like a bad joke that starts, “A CNN analyst, an anti-Trump Ukrainian whistleblower, and an aging action star are on a live stream.” None of them are walking into a bar. Because even Arnold Schwarzenegger, purported big-screen tough guy, is terrified of COVID-19. He is also the former allegedly Republican governor of California, making his comments even more bizarre.
Schwarzenegger appeared on a live stream to discuss disgraced retired lieutenant colonel Alexander Vindman’s new book. CNN analysts Bianna Golodryga and Vindman also took part in the discussion.
Somehow they veered off into discussing COVID policy. What expertise any of these individuals have on the topic is a mystery. However, it seems everyone is a virologist with a specialty in public health these days. Schwarzenegger wants you to know a few things:
There is a virus here — it kills people and the only way we prevent it is get vaccinated, get masks, do social distancing, washing your hands all the time, and not just to think about “Well, my freedom is being kind of disturbed here.” No, screw your freedom.
Because with freedom comes obligations and responsibilities. You cannot just say I have the right to do X,Y, and Z. When you affect other people, that is when it gets serious.
Look in the mirror, Arnold. The graying Mr. Olympia is fully vaccinated. He posted a video to social media to encourage his followers to do the same. If he trusts that his vaccine works as intended, he is the only one attempting to affect anyone else.
According to the health experts whom Schwarzenegger wants us to listen to, he is well protected from severe illness and death. Yet, as seen in a recent photo of him cycling outside, he still wears a face diaper in public. And he insists you do the same so he won’t suffer a cold—real tough guy.
Yeah, you have the freedom to wear no mask — but you know something? You’re a schmuck for not wearing a mask. You are supposed to protect your fellow Americans around you.
He also compares masks and wearing a seatbelt. Fully vaccinated individuals like Schwarzenegger are some of the worst vaccine ambassadors on earth. By comparing masks to seatbelts and red lights, they give the impression that they do not trust the vaccine they have taken.
The whole point of getting vaccinated is to return to regular activity. It is your seatbelt and your red light against severe illness and death from COVID-19. No one who is unvaccinated is begging to be protected. They are driving without their seatbelt. If they get caught by the virus, that is their responsibility.
Some social media users pointed out that Schwarzenegger enjoyed his freedom when it allowed him to abandon his responsibility to his wife by doinking his maid. And that might have affected some other people. However, there is another point to make.
Schwarzenegger represents the many Americans who believe SARS-Cov-2 is going to go away if we just do all the things the CDC and cable television doctors tell us for just a little bit longer. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Public health interventions have never eradicated a respiratory virus. Every year, people die from these types of infections. When a new one emerges, public health experts pay attention. They paid attention to H1N1 during the flu pandemic in 2009 and 2010. The experts and the media provided some coverage, focused mainly on keeping Americans calm. It hit the country hard for two years, but it didn’t get eradicated. The virus went endemic and still circulates and mutates into new variants today.
The nonstop SARS-CoV-2 coverage is often not detailed enough for people to make appropriate risk assessments, even with their physicians. Often it seems constructed to increase fear. For example, if you listen to the news, it often seems that everyone is at the same risk for severe morbidity and mortality from COVID-19. Nothing could be further from the truth. The risk varies significantly with age and health status.
A fully vaccinated, aging action hero barricaded in his home, furiously washing his hands until they are chapped while wearing a mask to prevent getting a cold is America in 2021. It almost makes you wish the Predator won. We all need to learn to live with the virus. Not run from it and demand our fellow citizens do marginally valuable things to calm our own fears.