Protests in four more states, but not Illinois!

The protests against shutdowns have now spread to Indiana, Nevada, Maryland, and Wisonsin, with gatherings of the disaffected in Indianapolis, Carson City, Annapolis; and Brookfield, Wisconsin. The picture below is of the protest in Austin, and I was horrified at the degree of crowding and the lack of masks:

(from NYT): Protesters against the state’s extended stay-at-home order demonstrate at the Capitol building in Austin, Texas, on Saturday.Credit…Callaghan O’Hare/Reuters

As the NYT reports:

 In Austin, at least 100 people gathered on the statehouse grounds in hats and shirts with President Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again.” Some carried American flags, and few wore masks that are mandated by the city.

There were cheers at the sight of Alex Jones, the founder of the website Infowars, which traffics in conspiracy theories. There were chants of “Fire Fauci,” in reference to Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease expert.

Crikey! This lets you know that these people are more than just frustrated, but also a bit unhinged.

Of course I recognize that most Americans (even Texans) approve of the shutdown restrictions—including 68% of Republicans—and even that the group above is only a small moiety of the disgruntled. I can also understand their frustration: many are jobless, hungry, and with no sign of an end to their pain. I am not in their shoes, but I can also understand how a governor’s restrictions can look arbitrary, even cruel.

Still, how do you trade off penury versus life? It’s easy for me to say “life wins”, because I don’t have to worry about getting a paycheck. But in the end, people could lose their lives this way, and if they had the ability to change the laws of physics, perhaps some on their deathbeds would regret having gathered like this.  But can’t they at least wear masks and protest six feet apart?  And. . . Alex Fricking Jones?

But in Illinois you’re not going to see this. We’re a Democratic state with a sensible Democratic governor, and Chicago has a sensible no-nonsense mayor who’s tough and even scary.

When I took a walk today, checking out how things were doing in Hyde Park, I found a lot of people out and about, with most wearing masks. (I didn’t, as I was outdoors the whole time and stayed well away from people.) I went by Trader Joe’s, where I buy my coffee beans, just to see how crowded it was, and at first was pleased to see that it didn’t look very crowded. But that was only because I didn’t notice the long, spaced-out line, stretching a whole block, with people standing more than six feet apart. Hyde Park, of course, is full of fairly well-off folks, with many academics, and they’re not about to violate any orders.

Presented for your approval: a bunch of obedient Hyde Parkers:

 

62 Comments

  1. Posted April 18, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I felt the same way when I saw the long line at our local Trader Joe’s. However, I needed some groceries so I got in line anyway. It moved pretty fast and it only took about 20 minutes to gain entry. Might have been even shorter as times passes so slowly when you’re waiting in line.

  2. JezGrove
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    “Alex Fricking Jones” – yup, no-one has died, they’re all actors in the pay of Obama/China/the WHO/whatever other conspiracy villain rocks your boat. Dangerous idiot!

    • Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      What, not George Soros? Now there’s a man with enormous influence and power. He’s behind EVERYTHING! /s

      • Rita Prangle
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        No, George Soros is so last year, the villian du jour is Bill Gates.

  3. denise
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    $2000/month to everyone for the duration. If people don’t have money for the necessities of life we will have more of this.

  4. Matt Young
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    It might have been good if you wore a mask, not for virtue signalling, but more as an example to others who might consider a mask but be embarrassed to wear one.

  5. Posted April 18, 2020 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Trader Joe’s has a “seniors’ hour” at 8a on weekdays. Lines are shorter.

    • John Conoboy
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Here in New Mexico, the lines are very long during “senior” hour at all stores. Today I drove over to pickup a new microwave from Walmart. Our microwave died yesterday. I ordered online, so only had to wait in the car and they brought it out for me. But, as I drove by the front of the store, there were many people going in and out and only about 1/2 had masks on.

    • Mike Anderson
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      In my limited experience the longest lines are during Seniors’ hours. Maybe I’m just unlucky.

      • Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

        Probably depends on the demography of the neighborhood. I’m old but I live in a young neighborhood, so I am in the minority. Hyde Park is pretty young.

      • Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        I’ve heard anecdotal accounts of this as well, that the senior hours are very crowded. Even though I qualify, I’m too lazy to be out the door that early to do real world observations.

  6. GBJames
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think you will escape this Magatistic insanity in Illinois, either. It is coordinated online just like the Tea Party protests were a decade ago. There is funding to promote it and it is just a bit of time before you see this in Republican-leaning parts or the state.

  7. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    At Trader Joe’s here in sunny Wichita, you stand outside and are given the okay to go in when someone comes out, so they are monitoring how many inside. The employee do this also sprays your hands with cleaner before you go in.

    Very fortunate to have a democratic governor here after years of living in the stone age. Be very glad you do not live in Nebraska, South Dakota or Iowa. They all have meat packing plants and will be a cesspool of virus as they attempt to keep them open. These are morons more interested in making a dime than saving lives.

    • enl
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      “The employee do this also sprays your hands with cleaner before you go in.”

      Whereas here, in NJ, the store I can get to has an empty box of wipes by the door and I get shoved out of the way by someone in a rush to the veggies. I step back to wait as she picks up each and every bunch of celery, examines it closely, and puts it back. And sniffs many of them, pulling her mask down to do so. The employee watching this said nothing, but did have a look of horror.

      This is one of the most republican areas of the country, despite being in, on average, liberal NJ. (less than 10km from one of el-presidente’s golf courses)

      • Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        “The employee watching this said nothing, but did have a look of horror.”

        This reminds me of a discussion I got into on Nextdoor.com. Someone wrote a post asking others not to be so judgmental and not to try to be the “pandemic police”. I felt this was totally the wrong attitude to take and said so. As you might guess, this garnered me a lot of negative comments, but I also goy quite a bit of support.

        Anyway, this employee should have said something. Removing their mask so as to smell the veggies is just crazy. Sounds like they wore their mask solely to get past the front door.

        • enl
          Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

          “Sounds like they wore their mask solely to get past the front door.”

          or just doesn’t get the point.

          One of my jobs involves training employees to work safely in often unpredictable, inherently hazardous situations. When I was trained to certify workers to use respirators, it was about 60 hours. Training and qualifying an employee is a full day, including fit test. This is the same for a full face respirator as for a basic dust mask.

          The purpose here is mostly to protect others. When I am training people, it is because their life is in danger if things are not absolutely correct.

          I don’t bother wearing my good mask in public, though it would protect me quite well (we don’t even permit N95 masks on sites where protection is REQUIRED as dust masks– no seal– but if an employee wants to wear a dust mask for their own comfort, they still must be trained and fit tested). A mask that protects the wearer is WAY too uncomfortable, and the handling required is much too cumbersome. (Four hours is the best I have ever done, and we try to limit to less than two without a break, and two donnings per day)

          The guidelines for a mask in public for the current circumstance are simple: cover the mouth and nose to reduce contamination if you are infected, and reduce the risk of infecting others. I would guess that only between 80% and 90% of the people I see are capable of doing this. I would guess fewer actually don and doff the mask so as not to increase their own risk.

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted April 24, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

            I find the ‘duckbill’ soft N95 mask quite comfortable.

      • Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        Morris County? I used to live there.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        … she picks up each and every bunch of celery, examines it closely, and puts it back. And sniffs many of them, pulling her mask down to do so.

        Reminds me of the one about the kosher butcher shop and the woman customer who came in, grabbed a chicken, pulled its legs apart, stuck her nose in the body cavity, took a big whiff, and demanded of the butcher, “Is this chicken fresh?!”

        “I dunno, lady,” said the butcher. “Could you pass that test?”

  8. phoffman56
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    “..people could lose their lives this way, and if they had the ability to change the laws of physics, perhaps some on their deathbeds would regret having gathered like this.”

    If I were ‘god’, I’d very gladly trade in any of those people for poor trapped older people becoming fatalities, e.g. people in care homes.

    And of course some of those people will get sick, survive, but will have passed the virus on to innocent persons that end up dying.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      The assisted living place where my wife’s mother lives is also doing all the right things. They have not had any cases of Covid-19 and stopped any visitors coming into the building very early. All the meals are served in the individual rooms, no going down to the dining area to eat. All employees take their temperature 2 or three times a day. They have very strict regulations.

    • phar84
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      There’s also talk of survivors left with residual lung damage, blood disorders or nervous system damage, unlike the flu.

  9. Filippo
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    “Presented for your approval: a bunch of obedient Hyde Parkers:”

    Always glad to see reasonably and congenially cooperative human primates.

  10. Historian
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    We should have expected these protests. We can also expect them to grow larger and spread to other states. This is the Tea Party, one of the pillars of Trumpism, attempting to make a comeback as its identity has been subsumed into the larger Trump movement. Thus, we see the loons packing their weapons to the rallies as they chant about freedom, but they won’t reach the numbers or influence of the early Obama years The Cult of Trump is now the Cult of Death willing to give their lives in support of their ideological zealotry as they are goaded on by the narcissistic president. Trump doesn’t care what happens to them; to him they are anonymous puppets whose strings he pulls to whip up his base. They remind me of the 918 people who committed suicide in 1978 at the direction of their insane leader, Jim Jones. Unfortunately, there is a segment of the population that is susceptible to the manipulations of a demagogue or madman.

    • Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      918 is not the correct number. Some number of the Jonestown dead died by suicide but a significant number, probably at least two thirds, died by being murdered. Children were injected with the poison (that count alone was over 300 I believe) and many of the adults who objected were too.

  11. Debra Coplan
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    I especially feel bad for the healthcare workers in the hospitals who may have to take care of them.

  12. Mike Anderson
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    These are pretty small protests (~100 people) and getting way too much press for their numbers. But stupidity makes news.

    I wonder if we’ll find, upon analyzing the photos and videos, the same grievance performers at multiple protests.

    • GBJames
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Stupidity also spreads virus. As for the “same performers” thought, all states have these idiots. We don’t need import here in Wisconsin certainly.

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        There were some “protesters” in Michigan or Wisconsin carrying a confederate flag, so I thought some might be out of state travelling grievance performers.

    • Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      I can’t find official counts but news footage looks like way over 100. Texas protests in Austin appeared to stretch over more than one block and be four or five deep on both sides of the road. I guess everything IS bigger in Texas. Except IQs it seems.

  13. harrync
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    These ‘End the Lockdown Now’ people remind me of a great Jack Benny piece, playing off his long-running gag of being a big cheapskate. Robber with gun: “Your money or your life” Pause “Your money or your life.” Long pause “I said, your money or your life!” Benny: “I’m thinking, I’m thinking.”

  14. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    The unfortunate aspect of the idiots in these careless protests is that their stupidity will probably result in deaths of innocent people as they infect others and take up space in hospitals.
    Triage them to the end of the list for treatment if hospitals become too stressed.

    • Filippo
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      ” . . . will probably result in deaths of innocent people as they infect others.”

      As I recall, in the photo there’s a child perched on an adult’s shoulders.

  15. Joe Hahn
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    If those people want to be stupid an die, let them. It is just very unfortunate that they may make others sick and/or die.

  16. Roger
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    How do you reason with people who can’t reason that Alex Jones is a troll. Not gonna happen.

  17. Jimbo
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Let the protesters get COVID then, I really don’t care. Let the anti-vaxers get measles…I don’t really care about them either (though am concerned for their children). These are adults who are being so willfully ignorant about a pandemic and so unreflective on the consequences of their irresponsible behavior on others that they deserve to be the first to suffer such consequences. It’s like they are intentionally drinking as much as possible and driving through downtown as fast as possible except that the number of innocent people endangered is far fewer from drunk driving because spreading coronavirus can amplify.

    • GBJames
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      What about all the hospital workers who will be further exposed by these people? What about all the others they will communicate the virus to at the grocery stores?

      If this was as simple as letting them all win Darwin Awards, that would be fine. But viruses don’t really care enough and the rest of us suffer along with these idiots.

      But I think you realize that.

      • Jimbo
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. I suppose they should be fined or arrested. I’ll go further: if they get COVID, I wish there was a way to deny them medical care. ‘You mistrust the medical experts? Well now’s no time to start trusting them so no, they won’t admit you to a hospital. Go home and pray. Some are saying that’s effective.’

  18. dd
    Posted April 18, 2020 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    The interesting thing about these protests are how few people are participating. Essentially, you perhaps have the crazed remnants of the Tea Party (and its children) and fans of Alex Jones….overlaps

    To this point, Texas has managed the virus crisis fairly well thus far, largely thanks to county commissioners/heads in large cities.

    As example, I live in Dallas, which as of yesterday, Friday, has recorded approximately 55 deaths due to covid-19. Dallas County is home to about 2.6 million people.

    (I believe around 70% of the dead are male. Any explanations for the discrepancy between male and female rates…as this is one of the constants of this disease. That, and the extreme representation among victims of the aged and obese.

    • ratabago
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:49 am | Permalink

      I don’t think there is a definitive answer, or a single cause.

      1/. I’ve seen data suggesting that the risk factors are more common in men.

      2/. I’ve seen it suggested that some of it is just heterozygote advantage from XX chromosomes.

      I’ve seen it suggested that sex hormones make a difference.

      4/. There is increasing evidence that the renin‐angiotensin system plays a role in pulmonary and cardiac damage in covid-19 cases, particularly in inflammation and fibroid formation. On average men express serum renin at higher concentrations than women.

      From personal bias I expect 1 and 4 to be important, but won’t be surprised if all sorts of other factors are contributing. It’s a complex disease in a heterogeneous population.

      Ironically, high levels of ACE2 increase the likelihood of getting covid-19, high levels of ACE2 seem to have some protective action as it reduces serum renin concentration. Nobody knows where the balance lays, and this uncertainty is stressing at least some cardiologists.

      https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.120.016219, A tough read on that final point.

      • GBJames
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        I read yesterday that one of the sites in bodies that is “honed in on” by the virus is testicles, for bio-chemical reasons I don’t exactly understand. The lower frequency of testicles in women accounts, in part, for the difference in deaths based on sex.

        • Mike Anderson
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          If they would have called it “testicular degenerative virus” I bet we’d see quite different behavior.

          • Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

            That would certainly scare the men but what about the women? You could go with “brain-eating virus” but Fox News has already dealt with that. 😉

            • Mike Anderson
              Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

              I think these female protesters are “stand by your man” types and wouldn’t be out there without support from men.

              • Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

                Good point. Let’s go with the “no balls virus” then. Engage!

        • ratabago
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

          The biochemical reason is that the major site the virus binds to to infect cells is present at a high level in testes. It’s the usual culprit of complementary shape and charge distribution between the “spikes” on the virus and its receptor, bringing the virus into close contact with the cell membrane so they can fuse. This site (ACE2) is less common in ovaries. The paper is pre-print, unreviewed, and completely lacking any evidence to support it’s speculation that testes act as a viral reservoir, or any mechanism* for the virus to get to the testes in the first place. The only thing they actually test is if men clear the virus slower than women.

          There was a similar speculative paper out of China back in February, which warned of possible fertility damage, and also warned of potential kidney damage, as kidneys also have high levels of ACE2. But it was mostly interested in urging caution in clinical practice.

          On the other hand, there are other small scale studies that have looked at semen from covid-19 patients, and at testicular tissue from people who have died of covid-19, and all samples tested negative. They were trying to establish if covid-19 can be sexually transmitted, or not. This leads me to wonder how one has sex from a safe social/physical distance?

          Pre-print article here: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.16.20060566v1.full.pdf

          It was fun reading the Science Media Centre’s experts responses to this. Concentrated polite scathing. Doesn’t seem to have stopped the press from running with it, though.

          *Viremia would work, but seems to be rare in covid-19.

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted April 24, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

            “how one has sex from a safe social/physical distance?”
            Quite simple really: condom and mask, and only doggy style, of course.

            • phoffman56
              Posted April 24, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

              Add a couple more peculiarities (what would I know??) and you’d surely have a real turn-on for some who seem to need that sort of thing!

      • ratabago
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 12:29 am | Permalink

        Here is a good overview by a geneticist of points one through (unlabelled) three in my other post:

        https://theconversation.com/why-do-more-men-die-from-coronavirus-than-women-136038

        The author is risking getting unpersoned by post-modernists though. She dared point out the biological basis of differences based on biological sex.

  19. Laura
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately California must be added to the list as well. There was a protest here in Huntington Beach yesterday. One of my favorite local restaurants was forced to close its takeout service because of the large group nearby.

  20. ginger
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    These “protests” are not by and for the unemployed and poor. They are promoted and financed by far-right groups. Alex Jones is a dead giveaway.

    • SRM
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 3:48 am | Permalink

      As is the encouragement by Fox News personalities and subsequent tweets of support by Donald Trump.

      Its time to drain the swamp of science and communism! U.S.A.!

  21. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    In South Africa we haven’t seen mass protests, but break ins in (closed) liquor stores are common, sometimes even by police!
    In the townships making ‘schomfaan’ (pineapple beer) and other home-brews is common. Distilled ‘Moonshine” is still rare. Illegal cigarettes are pretty readily available there.
    I fear that if the close to draconian rules continue, we will actually see protests, and I fear they will not be limited to a few hundreds.
    In the more upmarket stores about half wear masks, in the more ‘common’ stores they are still very rare.
    In all stores the security guards (all larger shops already had security guards) spray your hands, and the business part of your trolley.
    They also apply the ‘prescribed numbers’ rule, one comes out, next one in.
    Rates of serious crime are very much down, due to the curfew and the de facto Prohibition.

  22. Jim Danielson
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    They seem to have completely redefined the phrase ‘personal responsibility’ to mean they get to do whatever they want without any personal responsibility.

    • GBJames
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      They have redefined many phrases. “Pro-life” comes to mind.

  23. Posted April 19, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    It’s astonishing to see people protesting the government’s interference with their right to be intubated in the nearest ICU.

  24. Posted April 19, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I was a bit surprised to read that there was a protest on Friday in nearby Huntington Beach. The Orange County Register described the size of the crowd as “scores” so I guess it wasn’t huge. Years ago, Orange County was well-known as having many conservatives. Here in more liberal Los Angeles County, we used to say they lived “behind the Orange Curtain”. OC has become much more liberal in recent decades though the conservatives are still out there. The comments by the protestors reflect the usual stupidities:

    https://www.ocregister.com/2020/04/17/dozens-of-protesters-gather-in-huntington-beach-in-defiance-of-stay-at-home-orders/

  25. Mike Anderson
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    It’s getting worse. 2000+ people in Olympia,Washington packed fairly close together.

    https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/demonstrators-rally-in-olympia-against-washingtons-coronavirus-stay-home-order/

  26. Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    This lockdown does really conflict with some people’s love for liberty.

    • GBJames
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      It conflicts with everybody’s love of liberty. So?

      • Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        Exactly! We all feel the loss of liberty but one has to be a big baby to see the lock down as an infringement on one’s rights. The protestors are infringing on everyone else’s rights to stay healthy.

      • Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        I just thought that these protests might be motivated by American conservative ideals – liberty, self-reliance, independence, and overconfidence in one’s ability to not become infected by coronavirus (similar to the overconfidence in one’s ability to succeed in fulfilling the “American dream”)

        Symbolized by things such as automobile ownership, public transportation quality compared to those of Europe and East Asia, gun ownership, small government with high defense spending


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