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Paul Rudd Stars in a PSA Encouraging ‘Us Millennials’ to Wear Masks

In Paul Rudd’s new mask PSA, Rudd stars as a “certified young person” urging others—especially millennials—to wear face masks whenever appropriate to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Certified young person Paul Rudd wants you to wear a mask,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wrote on in a tweet introducing the PSA. In the video Rudd says Cuomo called him and told him that a good chunk of COVID-19 cases in New York are spread by millennials.

“Paul, you gotta help. What are you, like, 26?” Rudd recalls Cuomo asking him. “And I didn’t correct him,” actually-51-year-old Rudd says. “So, fam, let’s real-talk.” Rudd then goes on to explain the importance of wearing masks in preventing the spread of COVID-19, complete with so-called millennial-speak. “Yo, listen, hype beasts. Masks protect you and your dank squad,” he says. 

But eventually the act gives way and Rudd urges the audiences to really, seriously, just wear a mask. “Just wear a mask! It’s easy, it’s simple,” he says. “People are dying, hundreds of thousands of people are dying, and it’s preventable. It’s preventable! Just wear a mask. I shouldn’t have to make it fun—it’s science!”

Somewhat cringe-worthy execution aside, Rudd makes some good points here. Alongside social distancing and diligent handwashing, wearing face masks is a crucial way for us to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, SELF explained previously. And that goes for millennials as well as everyone else. The coronavirus is primarily spread through respiratory droplets that people who have the virus expel when they talk, cough, or sneeze. 

By wearing a mask, you’re preventing your droplets from spreading to other people and therefore helping to protect them from getting sick. This is important even for people who may not feel sick or have a known exposure to someone with COVID-19 because the virus doesn’t always cause noticeable symptoms, especially early on, SELF reported previously. So you could have COVID-19 and be capable of spreading it without realizing it. 

Although N95 masks and medical-grade surgical masks are the gold standard for protecting both the wearer and those around them from those droplets, most other masks are totally fine for the general public. In fact, in a recent study of 14 different types of common masks, those that were made out of multiple layers of cotton and/or polypropylene were able to effectively block most droplets from spreading. However, face coverings like bandanas and running gaiters did not do as well in this study. Still, more research is needed to see how protective they may or may not really be.

A mask is important, but it’s also not a license to take part in other risky behaviors. Rather than thinking of the coronavirus in an all-or-nothing or safe-or-not-safe way, it may help to think of those potential risks on a spectrum, experts told SELF previously.

For instance, if you’re out in public with other people, it’s pretty much impossible to entirely eliminate the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. But some behaviors are inherently more risky than others (like, say, eating indoors in a crowded restaurant versus going for a walk with your roommate in the park). And there are some steps you can take—including wearing a mask—to make any behavior a bit safer.

However, that doesn’t mean that wearing a mask makes you invincible to the other risk factors that may be at play. You should still follow the other public health guidelines, such as social distancing and washing your hands frequently, to keep you and your community as safe as possible.

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