Actor Tommy Flanagan, who starred on Sons of Anarchy as Filip "Chibs" Telford and recently plated Martin Connells on Westworld, shared a meme on his Instagram page Monday, urging his followers to wear face masks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still advises Americans to wear face coverings and follow social distancing guidelines as the pandemic only worsens. Last week, researchers released a study on Kansas infection rates that showed counties following the mask mandate saw cases decrease.
Flanagan's Instagram post included a Wheel of Fortune meme with the letter board reading "Wear a F— Mask." In his caption, the actor doubled down. "[Mask up] it’s THE proven way to help contain this virus," Flanagan wrote. "If you doubt it [Mask Up] anyway ‘some [effect] is better than none’ [Mask Up] good people. Save a life." He went on to say that "dumb f—ery" reigns "supreme" in the comments to his posts. He noted that some people say they "choose freedom" or that Dr. Anthony Fauci said back in March that people should not wear masks. "F— the f— off!" Flanagan wrote.
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Back on Friday, the CDC released new evidence supporting its advice that wearing a mask can help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Researchers looked at data in Kansas, where some counties chose not to enforce a statewide mask mandate. In the counties where the mandate was enforced, the number of coronavirus cases decreased compared to counties where the mandate was not enforced. "This adds to the growing body of evidence that says large, widespread masking helps to slow the spread of COVID," Dr. Aaron Carroll of the Indiana University School of Medicine told NPR.
Carroll noted it was not a randomized or controlled study, so there could have been other factors, like enforcing social distancing, that would result in lower infection rates in the counties enforcing the mandate. However, the finding did match data from the 15 states and the District of Columbia, where masks are mandated compared to states without mask mandates. The Kansas mandate began in early July, but 81 counties opted out.
The coronavirus is a respiratory virus that spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets that can hang in the air. The CDC has said that wearing a face-covering could help block the droplets and cut down on transmission. The CDC has also updated its guidelines to note that wearing a mask protects the person wearing it, as well as other people. "We're all exhausted by this virus. But the reality is the virus doesn't care," infectious disease expert Jeffrey Shaman told NPR. "All it looks for is the opportunity to move from person to person."