Matthew McConaughey urges Americans not to treat pandemic as partisan issue in new PSA

Actor Matthew McConaughey, who has cut a series of public service announcements (PSAs) urging residents of his native Texas to follow public health guidelines regarding the coronavirus, is calling on Americans not to "be divided" or treat the pandemic as a partisan issue in a spot released Monday.

The one-minute PSA depicts scenes throughout the country over a medley of patriotic songs, ending with shots of masked health care personnel and essential workers and the words, “This is not about politics. It’s about us.”

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The Oscar winner told CNN he has tried to use his platform to address the areas of greatest need, including PSAs encouraging residents to stay at home as much as possible and wear masks when going out.

“Just recently, I started to notice kind of a partisan political divide in the country, and I wanted to remind everyone with this latest PSA, hey, it’s about us, as in USA. We have to stay together. This is a human thing, don’t be divided. We don’t need two wars, we have one, against the virus,” the “Gentlemen” star said.  

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McConaughey also said his decision to cut a separate Spanish-language PSA was prompted by outreach from Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler (D), who told him about outcomes disparities among the city’s Mexican American communities. McConaughey said reading further statistics on the virus’ impact on Hispanic communities led to the PSA in question, a collaboration with boxer Canelo Alvarez.

He added that wearing masks in particular should not be a political issue right now, saying they were essential to preventing the health care system from being overwhelmed.

“Science is behind us right now, and the mask is about letting science catch up,” he said. “We’ve got to buy time. A mask is a very good tool for that, and I have not heard any science that says it’s not."