Scientist Bill Nye created a viral TikTok video in which he said wearing a mask is “literally” a matter of life or death. Nye created a new edition of the “Consider the Following” segment in which he explained how masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic.
“Why do people in the scientific community want you to wear a face mask when you’re out in public?” Nye asked. “Well please, consider the following.”
Nye lit a candle to help with the demonstration. He donned a scarf, a cloth mask and an N-95 mask and tried to blow out a candle. The scarf was the least effective and the N-95 was the most effective. “If you’re wearing [a cloth mask], you are protecting yourselves and those around you,” Nye says in the clip.
While Nye is known for his laidback presence, the star went viral last year after he became angry while talking about climate change. Nye demonstrated the same type of ire while talking about mask-wearing during the global coronavirus pandemic:
So, the reason we want you to wear a mask is to protect you, sure. But the main reason we want you to wear a mask is to protect ME – from you – and the particles from YOUR respiratory system from getting into MY respiratory system! Everybody, this is a matter literally of life and death. And when I use the word ‘literally,’ I mean LITERALLY a matter of life and death. So when you’re out in public, please wear a mask.
Nye’s Mask Video Triggered a Large Response
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Hours after the TikTok video was posted, the clip had garnered more than 3.7 million views. It generated nearly 100,000 likes and inspired nearly 20,000 comments. The most liked comment came from TikToker Arnie Nergret who wrote, “TRIGGERED BILL BYE” several times.
Nye was widely supported in the comments section, with some of the netizens telling him to run for president. “Please Bill run for president…… the world would be so much better,” one person said.
Others enjoyed the video because the “Consider the Following” was a return to nostalgia. Some were hopeful that people would start wearing masks now that Nye, a beloved scientist that many millennials associate with their childhoods, said so.
Masks Are Political in the U.S.
While health officials have said mask-wearing can help stop the spread of COVID-19, some Americans do not want to wear them because they claim masks infringe on their personal freedoms. Democrats were more likely to wear masks than Republicans, according to a poll by Pew Research Center, cited by The Guardian.
President Donald Trump has not worn a mask in public, as reported by CNN. Most of the people who attended his July 4 celebrations at Mt. Rushmore and on the White House South Lawn did not wear masks either.
Now Trump is at odds Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, after Fauci warned the U.S. was not in a good place.