During an interview with CNN’s Bianna Golodryga on Wednesday, the “Terminator” star and former California governor addressed Americans still “in denial” about the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is a virus here. It kills people and the only way to prevent it is to get vaccinated, wear masks, do social distancing, wash your hands all the time, and don’t just think, ‘Well, my freedom is getting a little disrupted here.’ No, ruin your freedom,” Schwarzenegger said.
“You have the freedom not to wear a mask – but you know something? You’re a jerk for not wearing a mask. Because you’re supposed to protect your fellow Americans around you.”
The objection to face masks was then contrasted with traffic restrictions, with Schwarzenegger claiming neither are infringements of our rights.
“We put the traffic light at the intersection so someone doesn’t accidentally kill someone else,” Schwarzenegger said. “You can’t say, ‘Nobody’s going to tell me I’m going to stop here at this traffic light, I’m going right through it.’ Yes, then you kill someone else and it’s your job.”
He believes that freedom comes with responsibility: “obligations and responsibilities. You can’t just say, ‘I have the right to do XYZ’ when you hit other people. Then it gets serious.”
“This is the same with the virus. You can’t go and don’t put on the mask because if you breathe you can infect someone else. And you can infect someone who then gets sick and possibly dies.”
He urged those who “don’t believe in masks” or “say we shouldn’t keep social distancing” to listen to specialists and follow their health recommendations, including hand washing, social distancing if necessary and vaccinations.
“There is no one who knows more about a biceps than I do because I have studied this issue for 50 years and the same goes for the virus. The people there, the experts, they study this year after year.”
Wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 should not be a “political problem”, according to Schwarzenegger. “Anyone who makes a political issue out of it is an absolute imbecile who can’t read,” he continued.