By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY – In the fight against coronavirus, masks are an essential weapon. The #HeroesWearMasks campaign is helping to spearhead the public health effort to combat the coronavirus through protective masks ahead of the start of the academic year and a potential ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 cases.
Facts2Health, a partnership between the entertainment industry, private sector, and the CDC Foundation, provides detailed information on the campaign to help spread facts backed by science and also combat misinformation.
The CDC Foundation is an independent nonprofit that mobilizes philanthropic and private-sector resources to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s critical work, including the COVID-19 response.
In early August the CW Arrow-verse (CBS and Warner Bros.) stars, a television franchise based on characters that appear in publications by DC Comics, and the Stan Lee Universe entered the fight by launching the #HeroesWearMasks online challenge.
Stan Lee’s social media platforms announced the online #HeroesWearMasks campaign with a post of Lee wearing a mask rendered in classic comic-strip form. Within a day the post gained over a million likes.
“Stan Lee defined the word superhero, so there was no better way to kick off this effort,” said X- Men/Transformers producer Tom DeSanto, the creator of the campaign.
“Right now, everyone has an opportunity to be a hero, simply by following the best scientific advice there is: to protect each other by wearing a mask,” DeSanto added. “And as schools reopen we all need to remind students the best way to protect each other is by wearing a mask.”
Since its beginning, the Heroes Wear Masks campaign has garnered millions of likes on Instagram and other social media platforms and the numbers continue to grow.
Anyone participating in the challenge can post an image or video of themselves wearing their protective mask along with the slogan, “I wear this to protect you” or, “Heroes Wear Masks.”
The campaign asks participants to challenge other heroes/friends to “show me your mask” with the hashtag #HeroesWearMasks.
“We want everyone to reveal their inner hero while wearing their protective mask, which could mean wearing a favorite superhero t- shirt, holding the Harry Potter wand you got when you were ten, or dusting off your old Spiderman Halloween costume,” DeSanto said.
“Just make it fun and as viral as possible,” he continued. “There are still reports of students not wearing masks in schools, and that is where the biggest outbreaks are happening. So, let’s change the narrative and make people understand that your mask is heroic and you do it to protect your fellow human beings.”
Actors from many other film and TV “universes” have joined in including X-Men, the CW Arrow-verse, Agents of SHIELD, Supernatural, Teen Wolf, Luke Cage, and Daredevil through Big Bang Theory. Reality stars from Big Brother and Amazing Race, daytime soap star from Days of Our Lives and Bold and Beautiful, along with artists and creators from the classic cartoon Inspector Gadget, Voltron and the 91-year-old creator of Land of the Lost Sid Krofft, have added their voices to the battle against COVID-19.
On Labor Day, actor Mark Hamill, aka Luke Skywalker from Star Wars and The Joker in the Batman animated series, posted a photo wearing a Joker grin type mask, challenging the world to “show him their masks.”
According to a press release, posts will soon hit social media from the wizards of Harry Potter as well as from Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy,
Other actors answering the call include Rosario Dawson, Alan Cummings, Billy Zane, Maiyam Bailik, and Holland Roden.
One mother posted that she was having trouble getting her five-year-old son to wear a mask until he saw his favorite superheroes wearing a protective mask on social media. Her son responded by saying he wanted to be a hero too and started to wear his mask as a sign of being a hero and protecting others.
“Your Instagram account is your Batarang. Your Snapchat is Captain America’s shield. Your Twitter is Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth,” DeSanto said. “Just get involved and post today, knowing that together we make a difference. And, if we can prevent one child, student or teacher from getting sick and possibly saving a life, then we have all become the hero.”
The Heroes Wear Masks campaign’s aim is to create a social movement around wearing masks as a positive personal choice, to raise awareness “how anyone can, and everyone should, be a hero in the battle against COVID-19.”
For more information, visit facts2health.org.