Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is defending a now-viral Facebook post in which he called anyone who refuses to wear a face mask a “selfish bastard.”
The democrat shared Sunday an University of California, Davis article claiming masks can reduce a person’s risk of contracting COVID-19 by 65 percent. The article features research from Dean Blumberg, who serves as chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.
In a lengthy caption accompanying the article, Polis criticized anyone who continues to disregard masks.
“The emerging scientific data is clear: wearing a mask doesn’t only protect others, it also significantly reduces your own risk of getting Coronavirus,” he writes. “So if you’re a selfish bastard and wearing a mask to protect others isn’t enough of a reason to do so, then maybe protecting yourself is?”
The post has since gone viral, with more than 2,000 shares and 2,600 comments.
Polis said during a Tuesday briefing that his intent was to show “even if you don’t care about the health of other people, wearing a mask reduces your own risk of getting coronavirus by about two-thirds,” according to The Hill.
The social media platform has become another means for the governor to communicate in recent weeks, he added.
“That means direct, it means humor, it means appeals to people’s patriotism, both with regard to their pride of being Americans as well as their pride of being Coloradans,” Polis said, The Hill reported.
The state has seen over 37,000 COVID-19 cases so far, in addition to more than 1,500 deaths, according to state health data.
Here is everything you need to know about Jared Polis:
1. Polis Started his First Business, American Information Systems, Out of his College Dorm Room
Polis was born in Boulder, Colorado in 1975, his office website states.
He graduated from Princeton University in 1996, and “by 30, he’d launched three successful companies,” the web page continues. One business mentioned is ProFlowers, an online flower retailer.
“Jared’s pioneering role in the internet economy earned him an ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ distinction from Ernst and Young,” the website reads.
Polis also co-founded Techstars, a startup accelerator, and Patriot Boot Camp, an organization that aims to help veterans start their own businesses, the page disclosed.
2. Polis Assumed His Role as Governor in 2019
Polis secured his spot as Colorado’s governor in the general election on Nov. 6, 2018, Ballotpedia reported. He assumed office in 2019 and his current term ends on Jan. 10, 2023.
Polis defeated state Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) “by a margin of just over 10 percentage points in the 2018 election to succeed term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper (D),” the website stated.
Ballotpedia claimed Polis entered “elected politics” in 2000, when he was elected to a six-year term on the Colorado State Board of Education.
Polis won election to the U.S. House in 2008, representing Colorado’s 2nd congressional district, the website added.
3. Polis is the First Openly Gay Man Elected as Governor in U.S. History
Time Magazine reported in 2018 that Polis became the first openly gay person and second openly LGBT person elected governor of a state in the United States.
The politician had been open about his sexuality throughout his political career, the magazine continued. Polis campaigned for governor on the premise of inclusion.
“I think it really gives Colorado an opportunity to stick a thumb in the eye of Mike Pence,” he told state democrats in a June speech, Time said. “Whose view of America is not as inclusive as where America is today.”
4. Polis is Also the First Jewish Person Elected Governor of Colorado
Wow!! Congratulations @jaredpolis of Colorado who just became the first openly gay man to be elected Governor in US History!!! 🌈🌈🌈
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) November 7, 2018
The Times of Israel reported that Polis is the first Jewish person elected to the role as well.
The politician previously told JTA that his political views are largely influenced by his Jewish background, The Times of Israel disclosed.
Polis said his great-grandparents immigrated to the United States from Poland and Ukraine in the early 20th century, the outlet continued.
5. Although Polis is Urging Colorado Residents to Wear Masks, He Hasn’t Made it a Requirement
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis recently turned down a statewide order mandating mask-wearing in public, the Denver Post reported.
During his recent Tuesday briefing, Polis said that, “like most Coloradans, I believe in bodily autonomy” and that he believes “people should make their own choices,” The Hill disclosed.
The governor also acknowledged that there is still a lot at stake, emphasizing that people also have the right to live.
“It’s also about protecting the right to live of those impacted by your decisions,” he added, The Hill reported.