At some point, perhaps in the not-so-distant future, we will reach a tipping point in which the economic impact of the coronavirus shutdown will eclipse the sum total of the other impacts that is has had on the American nation. The tricky part is attempting to predict when we’ll reach this fulcrum of diminishing returns.
Some Americans believe that we may have already crossed that line, and their anti-lockdown protests are now spreading from sea to shining sea.
Angry demonstrators took to the streets in North Carolina and Missouri on Tuesday to voice their discontent at their states’ stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The protests in Raleigh, N.C. and Jefferson City, Mo., are the latest in a series of protests across the country against state lockdown orders – fueled by tweets of support from President Trump and the economic unease caused by the coronavirus.
Holding handmade signs with slogans like “My Rights Are Essential” and “ReOpenNC,” hundreds of people marched through downtown Raleigh while chanting “Freedom Now.” Most of the people at the protest were not wearing masks and were ignoring orders to maintain social distancing practices.
It was immediately apparent that the protesters were not practicing the social distancing guidelines being touted by the White House.
Hundreds of protesters march down E. Jones St. after circling Executive Mansion, Legislative Bldg. & Capitol in downtown #Raleigh demanding @NC_Governor #ReopenNC. #ncpol pic.twitter.com/ArDpawISbn
— WRALJoe Fisher (@JoeFisherTV) April 21, 2020
It seems as though these protests have gotten through to some elected officials:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, gave the green light for some outdoor areas in the state to reopen late last week even as he cautioned that social distancing guidelines should remain in place. Florida has been one of the state’s hardest hit by the contagion, with almost 26,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 764 deaths.
The state was one of the last in the nation to order a lockdown and was heavily criticized for leaving beaches open during part of the spring break period last month. But by late Friday afternoon, thousands of people flooded the beaches in places like Jacksonville after they reopened despite pleas from mayors to practice safe social distancing measures.
In nearby South Carolina, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster is set to announce on Monday the reopening of state beaches and some retail stores. McMaster already reinstated last Friday access to public boat ramps and landings.
Health officials fear that a premature return to crowded restaurants and other businesses could spawn a second wave of COVID-19 deaths even more harrowing than the first, which has already claimed more than 45,000 lives in the US alone.