State Watch

Colorado governor stands by saying ‘you’re a selfish bastard’ if you refuse to wear a mask

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) is standing by a recent post he shared on Facebook over the weekend calling anyone who refuses to wear a mask to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 a “selfish bastard.”

In the Facebook post published on Sunday, the governor wrote, “The emerging scientific data is clear: wearing a mask doesn’t only protect others, it also significantly reduces your own risk of getting Coronavirus. So if you’re a selfish bastard and wearing a mask to protect others isn’t enough of a reason to do so, then maybe protecting yourself is?”

The post also featured a link to an article published by the University of California, Davis, in which Dean Blumberg, who serves as chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, said research shows that wearing a mask can reduce one’s risk of becoming infected by 65 percent. 

When pressed about his Facebook post at a press briefing on Tuesday, Polis said the purpose of his message was to highlight that “even if you don’t care about the health of other people, wearing a mask reduces your own risk of getting coronavirus by about two-thirds.”

He went on to say that the recent post was just one of a number of methods of communication he has used in recent weeks to convince people to wear masks.

“That means direct, it means humor, it means appeals to people’s patriotism, both with regard to their pride of being Americans as well as their pride of being Coloradans,” he said.

“Everybody makes their decisions differently. Some react to humor, some react to blunt statements, some to react to data, some react to peer pressure,” he said, adding: “There’s no one way to convince people to wear masks. I want to engage in every way I can to convince people to wear masks.”

According to the latest state health data, more than 37,000 COVID-19 cases have been counted in Colorado so far in addition to more than 1,500 deaths. 

Though Polis has continued to urge residents to wear masks in public to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, he has stopped short of making it a requirement.

During his briefing on Tuesday, Polis said that, “like most Coloradans, I believe in bodily autonomy” and that he believes “people should make their own choices.”

However, he also said he realizes the matter is not so cut and dry, saying “the reason this issue is more complex is not so much about just your rights.”

“It’s also about protecting the right to live of those impacted by your decisions,” he added.

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