The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, launched a “mask up” campaign featuring the likes of actors Morgan Freeman and Robert De Niro on Thursday, with the aim of pushing people to wear face coverings amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The campaign, entitled “Mask Up America,” comprises of eight videos, two of which were released on Thursday. Directed by Oscar-winning director Katheryn Bigelow, the videos include prominent celebrities Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, Jamie Foxx, Jeffrey Wright, and others preaching the importance of wearing a mask.
“I may never have met you. We don’t go way back. Maybe we wouldn’t even be friends if we did. But when you wear a mask, you have my respect,” Freeman says in one of the videos. “Because your mask doesn’t protect you, it protects me. And I wear my mask to protect you.” The ads will air during donated media time not just in New York, but across the country.
“There’s a ways to stop the spread of coronavirus. There’s a way to protect others. There’s a way to keep your family safe. New York figured it out,” says actor Jeffrey Wright in one of the “Mask Up America” videos. “The answer weighs less than one ounce. It’s not a heavy lift. Be New York tough. Mask up America.”
New York remains the American state most badly affected by the pandemic, having recorded well over 400,000 cases of the virus. Cuomo, meanwhile, is widely considered to have made a fatal error in issuing guidance requiring nursing homes to take coronavirus patients discharged from the hospital, causing thousands of deaths of nursing home fatality patients and workers.
“New Yorkers suffered gravely when this pandemic hit our state and as we see other states battle the surge of COVID-19, we want to be sure all Americans know what we know here – that it is essential to wear a mask in order to protect one another,” Cuomo said in a statement announcing the campaign.
“We can only beat this virus if we are united as one, not divided by ideology or politics,” he continued. “In that spirit, we worked with the best and most creative team to deliver this vital message in multiple ways and in different voices – I wear a mask to protect you and you wear a mask to protect me. It is as simple as that. Mask Up America.”