Coronavirus infections continue to spread like wildfire in the United States, with more than 750,000 confirmed cases around the country, and protesters have now taken to the streets demanding that governors reopen their economies.
The US currently stands at 759,687 confirmed cases of coronavirus– almost four times as many cases as anywhere else in the world. By Sunday, the nationwide death toll moved beyond 40,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Rallies took place in Arizona, Colorado, Montana and Washington state on Sunday, following earlier demonstrations in six other states. Protesters have expressed their agitation over the restrictions being put in place, with many citing that the measures taken are an assault on freedom and liberty.
While the US has been the global epicentre for the virus, signs are showing that they may have already reached their peak as infection rates starting to slow in some states. And with governors around the country issuing “stay at home” orders, the economic effects of the virus have hit individual consumers the hardest. While stimulus packages have been handed out to struggling businesses, such as Boeing and other airline companies, US workers have only received a one-time check of $1,200 despite many losing their jobs or losing significant parts of their income.
Therefore, despite the catastrophic effects of coronavirus and the body count it leaves in its wake, many Americans are desperate to get back to work and the debate rages on as to whether the country should be on lockdown. President Trump has permitted the governors of each state to make their own decisions regarding lockdowns. California Governor Gavin Newsom was the first to issue a state-wide stay home order on 19 March, while Washington and Oregon followed suit days later, putting over 50 million people under quarantine. New York, the worst affected state, went on lockdown on 22 March and Governor Andrew Cuomo is set to extend their lockdown to 15 May.
“We still have to make sure we keep that beast under control,” Mr Cuomo said, according to the BBC. “As we all get very eager to get on with life and move on.”
“This is only halftime in this entire situation.”
President Trump appeared to support the protests by saying that the strict lockdown measures were “too tough.”
Washington Governor Jay Inslee deemed Trump’s support for the protests “dangerous” and said that it’s tantamount to encouraging “insubordination”.
“To have an American president to encourage people to violate the law, I can’t remember any time in my time in America we have seen such a thing,” he said on ABC news on Sunday.