Note to governors: The end is coming — and it’s coming fast.
The rage against state government orders requiring residents to stay in their homes is building. So far, there have been protests in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Minnesota, Texas, Indiana, North Carolina, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Vermont and Washington and more are set to come this week. A protest is set for Monday in western New York.
“Freedom over fear,” said one protester’s sign in Indiana. “Freedom is essential,” said another in Texas. “Shutdown the shutdown,” said a third in Maryland.
Thousands of angry residents surrounded the Michigan state capitol in Lansing last week, staying in their cars to adhere to the governor’s orders but blaring their horns as they shutdown the city. The same things happened over the weekend at the Maryland capitol building in Annapolis, where the group Reopen Maryland says the shutdown has crushed small business.
At the capitol in Austin, Texas, protesters chanted “Let us work!” More than a million people have filed for unemployment in Texas since the coronavirus crisis began.
So far, the protests have been peaceful. But as things worsen, that may change. More than 22 million people have filed for unemployment benefits in the past four weeks, and the real numbers are like far higher. The number of new jobless claims have been jumping by more than 5 million per week, which means if governors keep their states shut down until mid-June and the jobless rate remains the same, another 40 million people could be out of work.
That’s a lot of damage for a virus that, for most people, causes mild or moderate symptoms, a fever and cough that both go away in two to three weeks. In addition, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says 25% of infected people might not have symptoms, but other experts say that 50% or more never get any symptoms. That means the virus is likely far more widespread than known, and many Americans may have already it and didn’t know.
But either way, people are beginning to get fed up, and many are beginning to realize that the cure might be worse than the disease.
After President Trump asserted earlier this month that he had the sole authority to reopen the economy, governors pushed back and the president changed his tune. Trump last week laid out a three-phase plan for the process, and called on governors to move forward quickly.
But among the guidelines for Trump’s “Opening Up America Again,” states should not reopen until confirmed cases have gone down over a 14-day period. That means many states wouldn’t open until next month at the earliest.
Governors are walking a tightrope and the stakes are high. At a protest in Minnesota, resort owner Bob Barton told Breitbart News, “I’m here because unless the governor lifts the stay-at-home order, in another 30 days, I’m out of business. I lose my home because we have a three-month season in which we make our living. … Me and hundreds of other resorts will go out of business this year.”
Things are also getting weird.
In New Jersey, a woman was charged Friday with violating the emergency stay-at-home order for organizing a protest in Trenton. In North Carolina, the Raleigh Police Department arrested a person for violating the state’s stay-at-home orders, saying, “Protesting is a non-essential activity,” even though the First Amendment guarantees “the right of the people to peaceably to assemble.”