Actress and progressive activist Alyssa Milano tried to convince “anti-maskers” on Twitter Monday to adopt the practice of wearing face coverings to protect them from the novel coronavirus, assuring them that a mask will protect them “more than an AR-15” ever will.
Milano, who is virulently pro-gun control, pledged earlier this month to extend an “olive branch” to President Donald Trump’s supporters, even though she has occasionally referred to them as racists and once compared the president’s fans to Nazis.
In an apparent overture to those who disagree with her, ideologically, Milano decided to argue the benefits of wearing a mask — a practice which is now recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as most medical professionals.
“Anti-maskers are the same people who think they need an AR-15 for ‘protection,'” Milano tweeted, apparently linking masks and support for gun rights — a link that does not seem to be backed by official research.
Concerned that she was not reaching the right audience, Milano continued, “LOUDER FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK: A MASK WILL PROTECT YOU *MORE* THAN AN AR-15 WILL.”
“Louder for people in the back” is usually reserved for those retweeting or replying to a statement, but Milano restricts her Twitter account so that just her approved followers are allowed to interact with her missives.
Mask recommendations have, of course, changed over the course of the pandemic. Early on, in order to preserve stocks of masks for front line health care workers, many health officials cautioned against wearing masks, even when temporarily breaking stay-at-home orders to make essential trips. Authorities now largely agree that mask-wearing can prevent or slow the spread of the coronavirus when social distancing is not possible.
But while masks are a recommended precaution against COVID-19, Milano’s theory has some holes.
The threat of coronavirus is also very different from a threat that necessitates an armed response. For instance, when suspicious strangers were spotted near Milano’s home last month, armed law enforcement officials were called to handle the alleged intrusion, according to Fox News.
Twitter commentators happily pointed out that different situations require different responses and that while masks may protect individuals from disease, AR-15s provide an entirely different form of — voluntary — protection.
“Uh, they could theoretically both protect you against different things. Is there a reason you think these two things are mutually exclusive? Or related in any logical way at all?” Twitter user “molratty” quipped.
“Surely I’m not the only person in America who believes wearing a mask helps reduce virus spread and firearms protect from those who wish you harm…” added Kimberly Ross.
“When someone tried breaking into my house in the Philly burbs the cops told me to buy a gun I have no issue wearing a mask, at all I also have many guns. Alyssa is a bad person,” wrote Tim Pool.
Milano has long lectured about the efficacy of masks from her Twitter account while wearing a handmade mask with a filter pocket. She later contracted COVID-19 and is a self-described COVID “long hauler” — someone who continues to experience the effects of the disease weeks and months after officially recovering. She has not revealed how or where she contracted the novel coronavirus.