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Arnold Schwarzenegger blasted people who are not following federal COVID guidelines because they say it interferes with their personal freedoms, saying Wednesday in a video on Instagram: "You have the freedom to be a schmuck."
In the video, the actor, former California governor and bodybuilder told viewers that "we are still in a mess" more than a year after the pandemic struck. While repeatedly saying that people need to "come together" to fight the pandemic, he also pointed to those who have not been vaccinated and do not abide by federal guidelines and local mandates put in place to curb the spread of the virus.
"There is a virus here. It kills people. And the only way we prevent it is to get vaccinated, to wear masks, to do social distancing, washing your hands all the time, and not just to think about, 'Well, my freedom is being disturbed here,'" he said. "No. Screw your freedom. With freedom comes obligations and responsibilities. ... When you infect other people, that is when it gets serious. It's no different than a traffic light. We put the traffic light in the intersection so that someone doesn't kill someone else."
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Schwarzenegger said that many people are still "living in denial" about the pandemic, despite experts with years of experience on the issue currently studying COVID-19 and its effects.
"I'm an expert on how to build a bicep... there's no one that knows more about a bicep than I do because I studied this issue for 50 years," he said. "And the same is also with the virus. The people out there, they're the experts that studied this year after year after year."
As of Wednesday evening, just over 61% of those 18 and older in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The areas in the country that have some of the lowest rates of vaccination also have some of the highest number of cases, according to the agency.
As the highly-contagious Delta variant continues to sweep across the country, the CDC revised its guidelines at the end of July, saying that even fully vaccinated people in areas with "substantial or high" rates of transmission should go back to wearing masks indoors. The agency also said that everyone in K-12 schools should wear masks so that in-person learning can return more safely.
In its most recent recommendation, announced Wednesday, the CDC recommended that those who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant get vaccinated.