The Social Distancing Backlash Is Here - CoiNews


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Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Social Distancing Backlash Is Here

A growing array of people on the left and the right are questioning how policies are meant to stop the virus being being implemented.

it's been about one month since local and state governments began encouraging social distancing and implementing stay-at-home policies in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus novel. As the uncertainty continues and President Trump pushes for the reopening of the country, a growing array of people on the left and the right are questioning how these measures are being implemented across the nation.
Around 97% of the U.S. population is experiencing a variation of stay-at-home orders. A wide range of infectious diseases experts, including U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, has called for states to continue these policies. The measures have proven effective so far, with new cases in hotspots such as New York and Washington growing more slowly than they were in the last few weeks. Still, we're a long way from getting the number of new cases down to a level that would allow for the end of the shutdown. Social distancing measures vary from state to state, with some instituting hefines to those who violate the orders to stay at home, while others are taking a more hands-off approach.
Fed up with social distancing measures, right wing groups have begun organizing anti-lockdown protests in places such as Michigan, North Carolina, and Ohio. (The Michigan protest on Wednesday featured "Make America Great Again" attire and Confederate flags.) Some of the measures - tracking the license plates of churchgoers violating lockdown orders, prohibiting people from traveling from one residence to another, using drones to tell people to socially distance - could be felt as a clear overreach. But, for some people, it's not just these excesses but the straightforward closing down of nonessential businesses and orders to stay at home that sting of an infringement of basic rights.
"You don't light up your entire community on fire to save one person," Ashley Smith, co-founder of the Facebook group Reopen NC, said. "This is not communist China, this is the United States of America."
Smith, a stay-at-home mother of four who lives in western North Carolina, believes Gov. Roy Cooper should lift the state's measures by May 1. Projections released in early April by a group of independent public health experts said that nearly 750,000 North Carolinians could get sick with the coronavirus by June 1 if social distancing measures are lifted next month. As of now, the state has seen nearly 5,500 cases of Covid-19 and 140 deaths.

“Most people right now can’t even buy groceries. I know so many people who are struggling,” she said.

Reopen NC organized a protest against Gov. Cooper on Tuesday. Raleigh Police said one woman got arrested for violating his stay-at-home executive order because “protesting is not listed as an essential function.” The group plans to organize more demonstrations.

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