Kerri Walsh Jennings ignited outrage over Labor Day weekend after writing two lengthy Instagram posts about feeling “brave” not wearing a mask into a store — even as coronavirus deaths have reached nearly 190,000.
“I had a little exercise in being brave yesterday & I’m still a bit edgy about it,” the Olympic volleyball icon wrote on Sunday. “I went shopping without a mask on & this is why … I read a quote the other day that shook me ― THIS HAS NOT BEEN ENFORCED, IT’S BEEN CONSENTED TO.”
She added that the U.S. has “become a country & a world estranged from each other & it is more deeply unhealthy than any virus could ever be.”
“Things won’t open up and freedoms won’t come back unless we are willing to push back and stand up for them,” the three-time Olympic gold medal winner continued in the comments. “I am willing to fight for the freedoms I have been guaranteed by my constitution.”
“I know people are getting sick & many have gone to Heaven. I have lived through a lot of loss in my family, in my life. I cherish life,” she said. “I would never downplay the impact of a single loss of life. That is its own conversation & my heart goes out to all those suffering poor health, the loss of a loved one and the fear that the reaction to & media coverage of COVID-19 has created in your days.”
After backlash over her first post, the volleyball great followed up with another Instagram post that declared “FREEDOM IS [A] RIGHT WORTH FIGHTING FOR” and expressed concern over a hypothetical vaccine mandate.
“I believe we have to stay mindful of the FACT that our freedoms have slowly been taken from us with our consent,” Walsh Jennings said, adding that she doesn’t want people to stop wearing masks, but she also doesn’t “believe in their efficacy unless it’s of a certain caliber.”
“I truly believe we are on the [slippery] slope of a mask mandate evolving into a vaccine mandate and that scares the 🔥out of me,” she said.
Former NFL player Brett Favre agreed, commenting “Amen.”
As the United States continues to see rising coronavirus case numbers and a climbing death toll, the University of Washington’s health institute predicted that deaths could more than double by the end of the year and reach 410,000.
“We expect the daily death rate in the United States, because of seasonality and declining vigilance of the public, to reach nearly 3,000 a day in December,” the institute said, adding that 30% of deaths could be avoided by mask-wearing, which is declining among Americans.
But as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said in July, Americans are “not defenseless against COVID-19.
“Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting,” he said in a CDC press release. “All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”
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