While the COVID pandemic has, in some ways, brought people closer together (remember when we all went outside and clapped with our neighbours for the NHS every week?), it's also created division. From the debate about whether lockdowns should be tightened or lifted to differences in opinions over the vaccine, these are issues that have caused rifts between colleagues, friends and family members.
One celebrity who knows that all too well is actor Jennifer Aniston, who's used her public platform throughout the pandemic to advocate for caution when it comes to social distancing and mask wearing, and has found herself removing people from her life who hold anti-vaccine opinions.
The actor recently told InStyle's September issue that she had to cut ties with a few people in her "weekly routine" over their vaccination status. "There's still a large group of people who are anti-vaxxers or just don't listen to the facts. It's a real shame," she said in the interview.
"I've just lost a few people in my weekly routine who have refused or did not disclose [whether or not they had been vaccinated], and it was unfortunate," Aniston said. "I feel it's your moral and professional obligation to inform, since we're not all podded up and being tested every single day. It's tricky because everyone is entitled to their own opinion — but a lot of opinions don't feel based in anything except fear or propaganda," she continued.
Jennifer has used her Instagram account with a following of almost 40million people to advocate for safety measures throughout the pandemic.
In June last year, she posted a selfie wearing a mask, urging everyone to wear one even though they are "inconvenient and "uncomfortable."
"There are many people in our country refusing to take the necessary steps to flatten the curve, and keep each other safe. People seem worried about their 'rights being taken away' by being asked to wear a mask. This simple and effective recommendation is being politicised at the expense of peoples’ lives. And it really shouldn’t be a debate," she wrote.
"If you care about human life, please... just #wearadamnmask," she added.
Not long after, with the permission of her friend Kevin, she posted an image of him in a hospital bed suffering badly with COVID, to highlight the damage the virus can cause.
"This is our friend Kevin. Perfectly healthy, not one underlying health issue. This is Covid. This is real. We can't be so naive to think we can outrun this... if we want this to end, and we do, right? The one step we can take is PLEASE #wearadamnmask," she wrote.
It seems Jennifer is one celeb who's willing to use her celebrity status to urge for caution and following the science during the pandemic. While this time can throw up issues of division, examining the facts and talking about how we can best keep ourselves and other people safe can only be a good thing.
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