Of all of the celebrity-related developments that have emerged during the coronavirus pandemic, one of the most surprising by far is that Arnold Schwarzenegger is back. That’s right, the 72-year-old actor, bodybuilder, and former California governor has become one of the loudest voices encouraging people to practice social distancing and stay at home.
Apparently Schwarzenegger has found the timing of the pandemic frustrating and he wants in on the action; instead, he’s stuck at home watching Contagion and hanging with his mini-horse and mini-donkey, Whiskey and Lulu.
While politicians like New York governor Andrew Cuomo have seen their stars rise during the pandemic, poor Schwarzenegger “is sitting at home watching the action on TV and wishing he could be showing up at hospitals and other sites to solve problems,” reports the Atlantic.
Schwarzenegger wants everyone to know that he isn’t new to disaster preparedness. In an interview with The Atlantic, he mentioned that during the beginning of his time as the governor of California, he spent billions on fire management and disaster preparedness.
“They laughed about it and brushed it off until, of course, Katrina happened,” he said. “After Katrina happened, they came back to me and they said, ‘What was that again that you talked about?’ They called me alarmist then and they said, ‘We’re just recovering from a recession. Well, why would you spend $6.4 billion on levees when we need the money for other things and blah blah blah.’”
At least he’s not leaving it all to Instagram PSAs. In addition to donating $1 million to help buy masks for doctors and nurses who need them, Schwarzenegger is also working to turn his afterschool program into a source of meals for kids who are out of school.
“All I’m caring about is: What can I do to help people?” he told me. “There’s people still living in denial. And I think that there’s also some people that, you know, they even see a crisis like this through a political lens. That’s what holds us back.”
Although it’s refreshing to hear celebrities talking (not singing) sensibly about safety and health during this time, I’d still rather all of them put their money where their mouths are. Keep your thoughts and prayers—buy some ventilators.