“Jesus is my vaccine”: protests widen against pandemic restrictions

The protest against lockdowns are growing in the U.S., and some states, like Georgia, are already set to open up by this Friday businesses that require close contact, like fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, hair and nail salons, and massage therapy shops. And Trump isn’t helping matters by egging on the protestors.

Many of the protestors are religious, like the person I saw on the news who made the statement at the top.  Others carry guns to rallies, which forges an unholy connection between guns, rejection of science, and the Republican administration.

I doubt that anybody here thinks that lifting restrictions now is a good idea. I certainly don’t. We have no testing system in place, much less a tracking system to see who has had contact with whom.  But neither do I think that we should dismiss the protestors as a bunch of morons who should be vilified. (I myself might have slipped in that respect.)

We could say that the protestors won’t win, but they are winning in some places. When I tend to slip into the “they’re morons” mode, I think of all the people on the fence about evolution, people who reject the concept not because they’re religious, but because they’re ignorant—ignorant in the sense of not knowing the facts. These are the people most likely to be convinced that evolution is a scientific truth.

Many of the protestors, then, could be acquainted with the facts: the probability, which by necessity is crude, that premature reopenings will lead to a second wave of the pandemic, and more deaths. “How many deaths is your job worth?” might be a good question.

So before we start demonizing every protestor as a stupid rube when the news is trumpeting, “We’re all in this together,” perhaps we should start giving those people an education. Perhaps we should try to understand the desperation of those who protest not because they love Trump or guns, but because they can’t pay their rent, and don’t have a job or savings. Yes, they’re wrong, but do they understand epidemiology?

As with creationists, it’s worth an attempt to educate at least some of them.  If they persist in their ignorance, as religious creationists often do, well, to hell with them.

 

h/t: Simon

128 Comments

  1. Ann German
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Interesting story about fellow who was falsely accused of organizing the protests: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2020/04/reopen-liberate-urls/?fbclid=IwAR0ZuTmJND1v7ZA0iBrSu0LpSL2tQrvIzgKVWtyLQmPxVxLIAtjTdqL93Pc

    • JezGrove
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Really interesting, thanks Ann! If only people would actually take the time to think before grabbing the pitchforks and going on the rampage.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      I retweeted this thread yesterday, which is about who is actually organizing these protests. (I can’t remember if it was you who brought it to my attention of not.) It’s really good, and includes a link to a podcast, which I also found interesting.

    • max blancke
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      That is interesting. I wonder if he would have been wiser to have those sites redirect to a page on asymptomatic disease spread.

      I did see that a woman was cited, and faces imprisonment, for organizing the protests in NJ. She seems to have been specifically charged with “organizing a prohibited event”. I think they are idiots for their method of protest, but I am still a bit uncomfortable with the idea that one can be jailed for organizing a peaceful protest, even one that puts people at theoretical risk.

      • phoffman56
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        “..I am still a bit uncomfortable with the idea that one can be jailed for organizing a peaceful protest, even one that puts people at theoretical risk.”

        Not meaning to be too negative here with a fairly extreme simile:
        But would you have argued similarly elsewhere earlier, had there been a protest about the terrible loss of jobs by Auschwitz guards and other employees, with its closure by the mythical democratic government after a mythical assassination of Hitler? That’s a bit off-topic in that the present day USian, say, barber was not doing evil in his job. But paying a fine and/or going to jail because you are advocating what will become tens of thousands of extra unnecessary deaths sure does not make me the least bit uncomfortable.

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        Putting other people at risk is one of the few valid reasons for jailing, IMO.

  2. GBJames
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think these guys can’t pay their rent. In Wisconsin the protesters were in Brookfield, a well-heeled suburb full of right wing Republicans. So I have to disagree here. They’re morons.

    • GBJames
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Oops. Forgot the damned check box.

    • JezGrove
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      I’ve seen reports that the anti-lockdown protests are being funded by rich people with a vested interest. Sadly, in these polarised times it isn’t always clear who to believe. Which probably means the fake news agenda is winning.

    • Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      So you’re dismissing EVERY protestor as a moron because they’re not economically affected? Sorry, but I think you’re wrong

      • GBJames
        Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        Every? I’m not dumb enough to claim that. But the majority of them, yes.

        I’d pose the question back to you because I think it is pretty much a perfect parallel… Do you think there’s much value in debating creationists? There’s little difference here.

      • JezGrove
        Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. The people most anxious to get back to work are those who don’t have the luxury of being able to work from home – they have jobs that involve physical or face-to-face work, not the minor inconvenience of glitchy Zoom or Skype conference calls. And they have lower wages and less savings (if any), too. That’s not to say that others with more resources and vested interests of their own won’t exploit any political opportunities that serve themselves, of course.

        • JezGrove
          Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

          I think my post crossed and ended up in the wrong place – oops.

      • phein60
        Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        I’ve seen that many protesters are economically affected, but can’t organize themselves or their thoughts to protest the Trump Administrations perversion of the bailout directing “small business” funds to multibillion dollar chains, instead of to working people.

        Our country could have sent every American household $5000/mo for one year for under $300 billion. That would take care of workers in spades, as well as most small business owners. Instead, we did what? Sent money to stockholders of businesses that raked in billions over the last few years and paid no taxes.

        • tomh
          Posted April 20, 2020 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

          Not so sure about that math. According to statista in 2019 there were 128 million households in the US. At $60,000 per…

  3. GBJames
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Here’s one of the idiots. A fellow who blames the spread of virus on unsavory black people. A fellow who says he’s going to reopen his pub in violation of our governor’s Safer-at-home order.

    Guess how his Yelp ratings are going. There’s nothing to say about this guy beyond “He’s a moron”, IMO.

    • Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      You’re calling all protestors morons because you find one guy who’s a racist. That’s like dismissing all Democrats because you find one who’s an idiot.

      That is an ANECDOTE.

      • GBJames
        Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        You keep implying some absolutism on my part. “All”, no. Nearly all, yes.

        These protests are not happening in areas where large numbers of workers are in great distress (in the cities). They are happpening in places like Brookfield. Affluent. Very conservative.

        These are people with signs saying they need a haircut.

        Why is calling that moronic out of line?

      • GBJames
        Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        That’s a fact. Ask yourself why all the high powered weapons at these protests. Do you expect to convince these guys with facts about epidemiology? These are tRump’s brown shirts.

        • SRM
          Posted April 20, 2020 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

          I agree. Remember the criticism of the media that will bend over backward to give the “he says, she says” narrative just to appear balanced when in fact, when it comes to facts, one side is at least mostly wrong and the other is at least mostly right. This present case of right wing protests is just wrong, and I think any bizarre attempt to cast them (in the interest of balance) as otherwise is strangely misguided.

  4. Susan Davies
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear. I hope this isn’t the beginning of the end for the U.S., but it’s not looking good. If these protests spread to other states there will be no stopping it. But didn’t der Drumpenfuehrer say that anything between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths would mean he will have done a very good job? So you have a ways to go yet.

    • JezGrove
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      If the Dems stay home and the GOP’s backers head to the bars and tRump rallies etc., I wonder what will happen in November?

    • GBJames
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      I think the protests are guaranteed in all states. There are enough idiots across the land to guarantee it. But I am not so pessimistic about limiting it. Maybe I’m naive but I think enough people, even some Republicans, would rather not kill each other with a virus than stay at home. Then again…

    • Posted April 20, 2020 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

      Corona Virus will have something to say to these people. Just give it time.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted April 22, 2020 at 5:24 am | Permalink

        IF ONLY the coronavirus were confined to the protestors, I’d say good luck and good riddance. They bought it, they can wear it.

        Unfortunately we know that the effects will be immediately passed on to people who DO understand the dangers involved and who are trying to do the sensible thing. Either by direct transmission (because nobody can hermetically isolate themselves 100%) or simply because the huge numbers of sick will overload everything. Like being stuck in an elevator with some idiot who is playing with alive grenade.

        Exactly as happened in Wuhan and Italy before anyone had any time to organise. Don’t these morons ever watch the news or do they think that ‘Muricans are somehow magically immune? Symptomless transmission is lethally insidious.

        cr

  5. mallardbrad
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Can NOT cure stupidity.

    • Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      I have seen creationists (dismissed by many as stupid) accept evolution and even leave their faith behind.

      It’s ridiculous to say that you cannot cure “ignorance,” for often ignorance is what it is.

      I guess you’re saying that my book Why Evolution is True was a futile effort because those who reject evolution are stupid.

      • GBJames
        Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        I’m not saying that. I’m saying morons exist.

  6. Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    As usual, instead of encouraging a rational discussion of how to safely open up some parts of the economy as soon as possible, which I believe is possible, tRump has made this a charged lose-lose confrontation. He will go down as the worst President in the nation’s history.

    • Mark R.
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      And his recent impeachment won’t help where historians are concerned. Isn’t it weird that his impeachment was recent? And I love the right using that as an excuse as to why he wasn’t on top of this pandemic…as if he spent one minute of his time (other than watching t.v.) on his impeachment. He might have wasted time fretting and hand wringing, but he spent no time actually dealing with it in a manner that meets the charges. This waste of a human being still smears his slime wherever he goes.

  7. phoffman56
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Surely a big problem here is how one is to educate them in the relatively short time available before their behaviour turns a disaster into an even bigger catastrophe.

    Convincing about evolution by natural selection isn’t quite so urgent. But a book written now won’t change 300,000 deaths back to 150,000.

    It’s Drumpf mainly who has the Faux News megaphone. And he’ll just lie in August (as usual) that he said all along that 250,000 to 350,000 deaths was a victory for his wise leadership. It’s hard to imagine those who just swallow him, hook, line and sinker every time, are anything other than really, really STUPID.

  8. Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    If one truly believes “Jesus is my vaccine” then one would be ready to go into a covid hotspot, like a nursing home, and help the people there, as J would have wanted. If you are not, then STFU.

  9. Patrick Orlando
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    I say to you if they have made the calculation in their heads that there is a risk they are willing to take. Who are you to say they can’t take their own risk ? And what if they know they have the anti bodies ?
    regards Pat O.

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

      It isn’t their bodies anyone is worried about. It is the bodies they will infect and the bodies of the health care workers trying to save their lives.

      And, how exactly do they know they have antibodies? The tests aren’t available.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 20, 2020 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        And the medical community, let alone the people themselves, does not know what the presence of antibodies entails. It likely means immunity of some sort, but how complete and for how long?

        That is yet to be determined scientifically, and so renders it impossible for people to make medically informed decisions.

      • Jonathan Wallace
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 5:02 am | Permalink

        Yes – around the World we have seen hospitals being overwhelmed by the number of cases. Irresponsibly increasing the levels of infection through this kind of behaviour exacerbates this and increases the strain on the system and the risks faced by health-care workers (especially if appropriate protective clothing is in short supply). That is why there is so much emphasis on ‘flattening the curve’. It is downright selfish of the protesters to disregard this.

    • Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      Some of them may calculate and others can’t, I believe. Maybe some are ignorant and can be informed. Yet others seem to care only about doing whatever they want when they want, regardless of the potential impact on others. Some believe they are protected by their god and to heck with anyone else (especially nonbelievers.) I wouldn’t mind the Christian ignorant going to church and remaining there if it was certain they couldn’t kill others.

      As a person who grew up in an Evangelical Christian environment (with Republican relatives), I have my doubts about using reason and providing information having the
      positive effect one would hope for. I would like to believe, but I’ve lost my faith.

    • phoffman56
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

      That lot of dickbrains, the protesters in each of those states, have never mentioned at all about thinking they have antibodies, have they? Have you seen signs and truck graffiti to that effect?

      They are not advocating that only employees with antibodies are to be part of their Drumpf-supporting evil foolishness.

      The matter of antibodies is just a crock of shit in this instance.

      Pardon the language, but deaths in the 10s of 1,000s does not get me worrying about niceties.

    • Mike Anderson
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      Those dimwits don’t know what an antibody is.

    • Graham
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 4:02 am | Permalink

      No man is an island entire of itself; every man
      is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
      if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
      is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
      well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
      own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
      because I am involved in mankind.
      And therefore never send to know for whom
      the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

      • EdwardM
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        Maybe no man is an island, but some are well isolated peninsulas. Or isthmuses.

        Just saying. 🙂

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

    Perhaps some of the protestors can be educated as to the nature of the pandemic, but I wouldn’t count on very many. The organizers of these events are zealots, ideologically driven as was the Tea Party ten years ago. In fact, I would not be surprised if many of the people at these rallies are the same people who demonstrated ten years ago. The essence of their belief system is extreme libertarianism. This means they distrust government (except for Trump) and are subject to conspiracy theories. They distrust science and refuse to accept the warnings of scientists. Politically, Trump loves these rallies because he thinks they will re-ignite his base. Certainly, there are some people who attend these rallies who naively believe that its main purpose is to re-open the economy. But, no, their purpose is cynically political to benefit the right wing. Whether the ploy will work remains to be seen.

    • Desnes Diev
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 5:55 am | Permalink

      Indeed. Some people (Trump, McConnell, televangelists, etc.) cynically fuel the illusion of knowledge of the crowds to gain power or money, or both.

      Ignorance can be fixed with facts. Illusion of knowledge, especially when stained by superstitions, is far more difficult to correct.

      • phoffman56
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        Beautifully written last paragraph.

      • Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        “Illusion of knowledge, especially when stained by superstitions, is far more difficult to correct.”

        It’s even worse than that. The idea that we make our own facts, by perceiving the world a certain way, is an idea that has taken hold on both the Left and Right. Not only do certain groups have the facts wrong, they are no longer looking for real facts as they feel free to make their own from nothing. It’s beliefs all the way down.

  11. Mike Anderson
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Jesus is my vaccine, Buddha is my barber, Moses is my bookie.

    Political analyst Dave Wasserman commented on a short video of the Jesus is my vaccine truck: “There is a lot going on in this Dem ad.”

    It’s one of the more self-destructive things I’ve seen in a while – they’re putting their (and their family’s) health at risk while prolonging the Trump Slump and providing wonderful ads for the Dems to use in November. Not a bright bunch.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      Brings to mind John Prine, who died recently of COVID-19, singing “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore.”

      • EdwardM
        Posted April 20, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        Sad indeed. My fav Prine line; “I knew that naked lady had something up her sleeve”. What a loss. The man was genius. And hilarious. In fact, this post has prompted me I wasn’t sure what to do this evening – I’m going to listen to KEXP’s tribute to him.

        You may see me tonight with an illegal smile.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted April 20, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

          I’ve been listening to a lot of Prine myself since learning that he died.

        • Jon Gallant
          Posted April 20, 2020 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

          We can’t see your illegal smile under your mask. Precautionary measures may have reached the comedy stage. This morning, I went to an optician’s shop to buy two sets of temple tips ($8.81), which they would not sell me until they took my temperature. My glasses, besides fogging up due to my mask, tend to slip off my nose when I lean down. I passed the temperature test, and my glasses now have temple tips.

        • Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

          Blow up your TV … in that pipedream ….

  12. Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    I think that these protests might be motivated by an 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

    • phoffman56
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but they haven’t protested against the law forbidding masturbation in public. Lots of people just love to do it whenever they have time.
      Clearly it’s a terrible intrusion of the government into personal freedom, don’t you think?

      • Posted April 20, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

        American conservatives are likely to be also religion-based social conservative, distinguishing themselves from libertarians. For example, supporting criminalizing homosexual activities but opposing the welfare state

        • phoffman56
          Posted April 20, 2020 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

          Right, total hypocrites, just like Falwell, the Pope, and most Republican state governors, quite apart from almost every one of the 53 or so Republican Senators.

    • darrelle
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      As a USian watching these protests I disagree. It looks simply like the deplorable core of Trump’s base showing their mindless support of Trump against their own best interests. The core motivation is “sticking it to the libs,” not American conservative ideals. Whatever one may think of the pros and cons of American conservative ideals the Republican Party and its supporters have been moving further and further away from them for decades. These days there is not a trace of them to be found among these people.

  13. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    I think Jerry is being optimistic but there is nothing wrong with that. Possibly some could be educated. However, whatever state you are in there are governors and medical experts who are responsible for making the call. Not Trump, not the Fed. Best I know these governors are using the science to make the decisions. Demonstrators are encouraged by right wing groups, by the NRA and by Trump to get out and demonstrate. I do not think education is going to do much. However, I would do this — Put facebook in charge and have them propose to people who want things opened up. Anyone who wants to take the risks, let them sign up with the agreement that, if they get sick, if they get the virus, our medical system is not going to be there for them. Not while the governor of the state has things closed.

    You cannot have it both ways so give them this choice. See how many still want it. Our health care workers deserve no less.

    • Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Its not happening in a vacuum. Those who do take the risk will infect others who had no dog in this fight.
      Some will get sick. They will infect others. And the health care system will need to try to help all of them.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        Certainly those who “take the risk” might infect others and those other will be helped. But the ones who came out against policy and got infected should not. That is why they sign up and Facebook has the names.

        You say just let them do what they want and the medical system will help everyone. That is crap. Who has the hospitals for that?

        • Posted April 20, 2020 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

          Hospitals would be obligated to help everyone, even the ones who broke quarantine, since not doing so would make more innocent people sick.
          Even if that were not the case, even if somehow they hurt no one except themselves (and it isn’t that way), asking a doctor or nurse to refuse care of a patient b/c they were a damn fool flies in the face of everything they stand for. They won’t agree to that.

  14. eric
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Whatever the understanding of the protestors, it seems pretty clear that Trump is using them for political purposes. His specific targeting of states with Dem Governors shows that. And I have no doubt that other right-wing demagogues will do the same, if they aren’t already doing so.

    So while yes, there’s lots of people suffering from severe economic consequences – out of work, no money to pay for basic things, etc. – it’s also the case that the promoters have at best a minor interest in their welfare. After all, these are the same folk who regularly call for cuts in welfare, cuts in food stamps, want to cut ACA health care, want no raise in the minimum wage…and so on. The idea that conservatives want to re-open businesses because they really care about the prosperity of blue collar workers is…ludicrous. They’re being manipulated by mouthpieces for business interests who think a higher death rate among the lower and middle classes is a price well worth paying, so they can reap more profits.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      As with every other part of this virus saga, Trump is using his position to throw blame on everyone and everything possible. This is his game and it hasn’t changed in three plus years. His failure from the beginning of this pandemic until now has not changed. He still is doing nothing to fix the testing failure which is necessary to open up. So lets protest to get open and to hell with the test failure. It is all Trump Bull Shit. All he wants now is some sudden go back to work thing to pull the economy out of the ditch for him. Make the economy good for him. He cares about nothing else.

    • darrelle
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      +1

  15. EdwardM
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    It is moronic to protest opening the economy in most places now, but the reality is these protests are only going to grow. The shutdown cannot be sustained. The economy MUST open again. Society is going to really start coming unraveled as the people who were hanging on by their fingertips before the pandemic start to run out of options. In the US that number of people is in the tens of millions. They can’t all be morons. In a different world, we would manage the opening guided by science and medical experts. I am afraid of how we’ll we’ll do it.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      You make no sense at all. So you are saying, open up and let it rip. To hell with thousands of people getting sick and overwhelming the health system. To hell with the experts. The idea that we can all go back to work and the economy will be fine is a joke. Who is Boeing go to make airplanes for. The airlines have cancelled hundreds of planes already. Retail business have declared bankruptcy. Maybe you want to bring back the dead.

      • EdwardM
        Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        I did not say that at all, Randall. Please re-read what I wrote.

    • GBJames
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      In a different world, we would manage the opening guided by science and medical experts.

      And the alternative is what exactly? How many tens of thousands of victims are acceptable?

      • EdwardM
        Posted April 20, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        I don’t have an answer to that. At some point we will have to decide how much is acceptable. Hopefully that won’t be until we have a vaccine and or a therapy that will get the mortality to a rate we can can stomach. Maybe like the flu. We have an open economy even though we get 40K or more flu deaths in the US) every year. I dunno where that will be with coronavirus and I hope we get to it without a worldwide depression of epic proportions. That’s where my fear is. I am certain we can get the mortality down, but I am not sure it will come in time.

        These people demanding the economy open now are morons (mostly – I do think some are simply ignorant and are ok with that). But sometime, rather soon I’m afraid, the numbers demanding the economy to open are going to snowball. Before the pandemic hit something like 30% of the American workforce was living paycheck to paycheck. Now many of them have lost even that. That’s tens of millions of people.

        These protests today are at most a few hundred morons. A month…two..(?) from now there may be millions. The fraction of morons then will be small.

      • Posted April 20, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

        The alternative would be a very reasoned and coordinated plan for small incremental opening of business with specific requirements. Of course Trump and his ass-kissers would not be capable of that, and many governors and their constituents see things only in black and white. Social distancing with everyone wearing a mask dramatically decreases spread of this virus. For example, many restaurants and hotels could reopen with strict enforcement of distancing, limited hours and thorough cleaning. Age restrictions for opening could be another strategy for getting younger people back to work first. Airlines could fill two seats in every other row. There are many low-risk ways of easing restrictions rather than the all or nothing that seems to dominate the discussion.

        • Tom B
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:03 am | Permalink

          Many, if not most, governors are discussing a 3 step plan for reopening. Step 1 being things like opening boat ramps and beaches and allowing groups of no more than 10 people.
          Subsequent steps ramp up from there. So the people who will decide seem to be doing and planning exactly what you suggest.

          • Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

            Agreed, but locally, it seems hodgepodge and very slow to implement the phased approach. Thankfully our governor and mayors of the metropolitan areas are not science-denying covidiots.

    • Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      According to the people who know, opening the economy now would: Crash the medical system and take out so many key people that it would have worse consequences than leaving things shut down a bit longer.

      Opening now doesn’t even make economic sense (in pristine isolation, leaving aside all the deaths).

  16. Ken Pidcock
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    I’ve encountered well-educated people who believe that trying to contain the pandemic only serves to delay the time when we have adequate herd immunity. If people die, that’s what inevitably happens in pandemics. I know that they’re missing something about epidemiology in assuming that epidemics can only be allowed to run their course, but it isn’t total ignorance on their part.

    • phoffman56
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      It IS total ignorance of quantitative fact, assuming the figures below, though not exact, at least have similar errors. Just look at the number of deaths per million population.
      Compare Sweden to Norway.

      Compare Britain to Germany.

      Maybe even compare US to Canada, though it’s a bit early. (We’ve dropped from more than 4 tomes better to something less than 3 times better.)
      And of course see which of the two in each case had a government which agreed with the herd immunity, the other didn’t. Of course the Drumpf administration doesn’t even know what almost any scientific phrase means.

      You could also compare the #cases per million, but that’s less accurate by far I think and less reliable.

    • Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      Yes, for almost all these protesters, it is total ignorance. They take their “news” from Trump. They cry “fake news” about anything that is counter to Trump.

  17. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    It’s one thing to rely upon education in the long battle between scientific understanding and religiously induced benightedness. It’s quite another when the adversary is a highly infectious disease with a five or six day incubation period and in which it can be but a week from the onset of symptoms to intubation with a ventilator in an Intensive Care Unit.

    The people who want to do away with shelter-in-place restrictions and to relax social-distancing requirements are like someone forced to bailout of an airplane who, noticing that their parachute has vastly reduced their rate of descent, want to cut lose the canopy because they’re anxious to feel their feet back on good old terra firma.

    • Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      Exactly, but to make the analogy complete you need to put a few parachuters directly below the idiot in question, who face a high chance of being taken out as this guy plummets down.

    • Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Your analogy reminds me of:

      1. An article translated from Greek to English in The Athens News: “The pilot climbed out on the wing of his plane and parachuted safely to his death.”

      2. A filler in The New Yorker some years back: Correction inserted into a parachute manual: “Where the text reads ‘State zip code,’ please change to ‘Pull rip cord.’”

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 22, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

        My writing frequently comes off as indecipherable as though transliterated from Hellenistic Greek, Gary. 🙂

  18. Robert Van Orden
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    About the guns…

    I wonder, indeed I really pondered this, about those who show up with guns to their state capitals to protest state restrictions in response to a global pandemic. Certainly a minority of ‘conservatives’ behave this way.

    Those that do, I bet they dislike the idea of spending their hard earned cash multiple weapons for no good reason.

    It’s hard not to look down on these people.

    • SRM
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

      On the other hand it easy to look down on these people, and for good reasons I would say.

      Guns aside, notice the American flags waving everywhere. One would think this enemy must target Americans rather than human respiratory tract epithelial cells.

      Dumb nationalism, in service of protecting an incompetent president, with a side order of fascist displays of power.

    • darrelle
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Trump has framed this as a struggle against oppression by the state. That’s why the guns. He is inciting his deplorable base to throw off the yoke of oppression imposed by evil Demoncrat state governors.

  19. Posted April 20, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    I’ve also seen a sign or two in the TV coverage of these protests stating that the carrier isn’t going to be “intimidated” into getting a vaccine if/when it’s available. One of my worries about overcoming COVID-19 is the “anti-vaxxers”, who have already been responsible for measles outbreaks over the past few years, and could really harm the push to control novel Coronavirus.

    • Posted April 20, 2020 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      I recently learned that the anti-vaxxers are gaining new support from the hard-line pro-life Christians. Why? Because many viruses that are used to prepare vaccines are grown in human cell lines derived from aborted fetuses.

      • Tom B
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:21 am | Permalink

        While true, it is a total of 2 cell lines derived from the fetal lung tissue of 2 fetuses aborted back in the 60’s in order to save the mothers’ lives. Even the Pope has said this use is OK. I know you are not promoting it, the fetal tissue antivaxxer (proplague) trope drives me nuts.

        And yes, the pandemic deniers have already started teaming up with antivaxxers. Even using the antivaxxer tactics of coordinated harassment attacks to silence science communicators and inundating comments on diseases and vaccines with misinformation and argumentative tangents.

        • Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

          Correct, but that is nearly impossible to explain to a staunch anti-abortionist – believe me I’ve tried.

    • Posted April 20, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      I believe that all protesters who are not wearing masks and not adhering to physical distancing should be required to fill out this card in duplicate – one to carry and one to be kept on file for hospital records.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted April 22, 2020 at 5:45 am | Permalink

        I think they should all be rounded up, herded into a prison camp, err, secure facility, and left there until the epidemic is over. By then any covid-19 that any of them carry will have run its course so it will be safe to let the survivors out.

        Food and water could be catapulted over the wire to avoid contact.

        cr

        (That seems to me to be an entirely reasonable and logical response to such organised and gratuitous stupidity. I don’t think I’m entirely serious. Probably.)

  20. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    The facts are, some of these red states are going to open. Some of them always have been open. These are the ones soon to pay the price. Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and more. Watch them as the virus spreads like crazy though the packing plants and in some places the prisons. Any other places like Wisconsin or Michigan or Trump Florida, that open up will soon wish to hell they had not. Just look at the places they want to open. The beaches, the bowling centers, theaters and all these really “essential” businesses. Then watch the death toll take off. Morons do not deserve health care, especially if it keeps other from getting it.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 22, 2020 at 5:48 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately, how do you stop the morons from infecting everybody else?

      cr

  21. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    I also wanted to report something that happened at the Trump campaign report today, you know the one they have everyday.

    A reporter said that some people who watch and listen to the president then will think it is okay to ignore the warnings and rules and go out. If they get sick how will that affect you Mr. President. His answer was the usual non answer and went like this: A lot of people out there love me and I am going to win in a land slide. That is the answer of a mentally sick and diluted individual.

    • Graham
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 4:10 am | Permalink

      Ah. If only he could be diluted 🙂

  22. Greg Geisler
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, most of these folks are not interested in facts or open to having their minds changed. Trust me, I live in Texas. Outside of Austin (where I live) the state is deep red and most folks aren’t concerned with evidence. If it is liberal it is evil. I may have stated it here before but the Texas Republican charter states it quite clearly: “In the you-can’t-make-up-this-stuff department, here’s what the Republican Party of Texas wrote into its 2012 platform as part of the section on education:

    Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

    These people are dragging us down.

    • Mark R.
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      When it comes to the South dragging us down, you need not look any further than the Electoral College. That’s why we have the orange smear in the first place, let alone the W. fool. Thanks South! America needs to be rid of the burden. People in the south are still pissed about the civil war for shit’s sake! Get a grip people.

  23. max blancke
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    I would love it if someone would interview the “Jesus is my vaccine” folks to see just what their agenda and mindsets are.

    I can, however, see some things worth (safely) protesting about. The idea that people can go to the hardware store, but cannot buy seeds and other specific things. As if growing food during times of crisis is a frivolity.
    And there are people who are in serious danger of losing everything, but don’t actually know anyone who has contracted the virus. I could see that from the perspective of those folks, some of the seemingly arbitrary restrictions could be examples of the ruling class wanting to remind everyone who is in charge.

    I don’t share that sentiment. But I have suffered very little personal hardship.

    • darrelle
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      I’m sure that nearly everybody in the nation understands and has sympathy for those in financial distress due to this crisis. Most everyone can understand that people under such financial stress are more likely to think negatively of the restrictions that have caused it.

      On not being able to buy seeds, PolitiFact and many other fact checkers rate this as false. From many sources I’ve looked at it is indeed false. It’s standard Republican propaganda. I tiny kernel of accuracy warped, added to and blown out of all proportion. A premeditated lie. The Michigan governor’s orders placed no restrictions at all on the sale of plants, seeds or any specific items. What it did was place restrictions on stores such as stores over 50,000 SqFt required to close off access by the public to parts of their stores and to take measures to promote social distancing guide lines. Nothing in the orders prevents people from asking store employees to get items for them from closed off areas of the store, curb pick up of such items or delivery of such items. In fact the state suggested just such alternative methods for such situations.

  24. Mark R.
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    “I would love it if someone would interview the “Jesus is my vaccine” folks to see just what their agenda and mindsets are.”

    You want an interviewer to suss out what these faitheists think? It’s out there. They want Jesus to “come back” and send them to heaven and everyone else to hell. No need for an interview. The mindset is death cult and now they can grow and believe the cult is real. Trump to me is a death cult leader. Easy to see when you’re not laid back, the shit ain’t gonna happen to me attitude. Glad you haven’t suffered, but you just don’t know it yet. No one will escape this one Max. Even the rich will succumb to this…got gold?

    • darrelle
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      It always grosses me out when such people say things like “The blood of Christ!,” or “I’m covered in Jesus’ blood!”

      Really? WTF? Stay the fuck away from me. They’re like cannibal vampire zombies. Sucks to be their god.

  25. tomh
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Meanwhile, the virus has proved a handy tool for Republicans to push their agendas of all sorts. First it was red states prohibiting abortions under the guise of “elective surgeries”, now tonight Trump announces he’s suspending immigration, period. This won’t play well with farmers who desperately need farmworkers, and it may well wreak havoc with the food chain. But anti-immigration groups are crowing with delight.

  26. Matt
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    Fox News’s Judge Jeanine said “We’re not stupid. We know to wash our hands, wear a mask and keep a safe distance.”

    The reality at these Liberate rallies was the opposite.

    If after all these weeks of daily updates of deaths, daily reminders to wear a mask and social distance, you choose to go to a crowded rally and stand with strangers shoulder to shoulder without a mask then you simply are not capable of being reasonable. For most of these people this was just a Trump rally under a different name.

  27. Paul Woodcraft
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 3:44 am | Permalink

    As a UK Citizen, I’m not familiar with the US Health Insurance Industry & how they operate. I wonder out of curiosity about the consequence for families & children in particular, if people deliberately put themselves into harm’s way. Would their health insurance pay for treatment, which I could only imagine would run into thousands of Dollars?

    • Tom B
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink

      I have never heard of an insurance claim being denied due to the beneficiary’s negligence. No matter how egregious.

      Does the NHS in the UK make people pay for bad choices? I would be interested in hearing how that works.

      • Matt
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

        Outright refusal to pay a claim might not be possible but I don’t see why the extreme risk takers can’t be put in their own high risk insurance pool. The higher risk patients should pay higher premiums based on actuarial analysis. Much like smokers pay higher premiums.

      • Paul Woodcraft
        Posted April 22, 2020 at 4:28 am | Permalink

        Reply to:- “I have never heard of an insurance claim being denied due to the beneficiary’s negligence. No matter how egregious.

        Does the NHS in the UK make people pay for bad choices? I would be interested in hearing how that works.”

        Currently, everyone has access to the NHS, free at the time of use. But a lot of Conservatives have suggested that people who are obese, drug problems & other self-inflicted conditions should pay & not be treated by the NHS. The NHS is something they voted against from inception & have deliberately underfunded to create a situation where it is taken over by private companies even though the NHS is probably the most cost-effective health care model in the world, able to procure more cheaply as a large organisation & not duplicating expensive facilities. However, it does make it vulnerable if not adequately resourced & used to the maximum e.g. ITU beds prior to pandemic 108% occupancy leaves no headroom for crisis.

    • Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Thousands?

      I had 3 days in hospital in 2017. And some outpatient treatment.

      My medical bills for the year were $85,000+.

      And mine was basically a very simple case without major complications.

      Thankfully, I have good coverage through the (excellent) company I work for.

      In 2018, I had a hip replaced (by an excellent specialty surgical center that costs less than typical hospital surgeries). Zero nights inpatient. I was in recovery for about 4-6 hours and asked if I could go home (I could walk and manage stairs and the toilet) and they said OK. The bill was $45,000+. Again, lucky to have coverage.

      Medical bills are the #1 cause of personal bankruptcy in the US.

  28. andrewnwest
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    If you can’t buy food, and you aren’t allowed to work, what are you meant to do?

    • SRM
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 5:55 am | Permalink

      Well, if one is of a strong libertarian mindset, as I would bet many of these protestors are, then there is not much else you can do. And you accept that millions of people dying in your own country alone from a pandemic is just the cost of freedom.

      An alternative is to elect people who actually believe that effective government can be an organizing force for good, and not the enemy of the people. Such leaders might promote strong social safety nets that become particularly important when times are bad. Not only does this build a more stable and just society, but I would bet is cheaper in the long run.

      • Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        Yeah, the libertarians aren’t too talkative right now. Every man for himself doesn’t work very well in a global pandemic (or in an economic recession/depression or with regard to public health).

      • andrewnwest
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        “An alternative is to elect people who actually believe that effective government can be an organizing force for good”

        Ok, but the die is already cast.

        • GBJames
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

          Well, then, one thing one might do is learn a lesson.

          • andrewnwest
            Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

            Too late, one has already starved to death.

    • Tom B
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      Try to find a friend who is a preper?

  29. Jonathan Wallace
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    “If they persist in their ignorance, as religious creationists often do, well, to hell with them.”

    Unfortunately, if as a result of their refusal to accept the evidence and behave accordingly, they cause increased levels of infection within their communities it is not only themselves who are affected. The burden on the hospitals is increased and the risk to health-care workers is increased and the entire community suffers.

  30. Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Darwin Awards, Darwin Awards …

  31. Hempenstein
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Do you suppose any of them have heard of Landon Spradlin?

  32. Daniel
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    I think it is naive to imagine that they are simply ignorant. This is the “knowledge deficit model”. In reality they are filled with misinformation, which feels like knowledge. The misinformation is difficult to override with truth, because it aligns with their biases and ideological commitments.

  33. Roo
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I can understand how there’s a bit of a Rorschach element to this pandemic. Some thoughts on why:

    – The data on how big of a deal this is have careened wildly. I don’t blame anyone for that, but still true. From “can’t even be transmitted from human to human” to “no big deal” to “millions of deaths” to “60,000 deaths” within the course of weeks.

    – Without antibody testing, I think it’s easy to tell yourself you’ve probably had it already. Especially since Jan – April is cold, flu, and allergy season. Everybody likes to think they’re in the percent who won’t get a bad case – easier to say, hey, I know someone who traveled abroad, I had a cough last month, I probably had it.

    – There are moral dilemmas here that are ‘oughts’, not ‘is’s’, and so while you can say science is on one’s side empirically, others can say they have a different take morally. I can understand how if you were home with kids, not sure how you were going to feed and shelter them and watching the last pennies go with every day that passed, while being told there is nothing you can do to earn a living but help is not necessarily guaranteed either, it would be a nightmare.

    – Again with folk psychology – I think there is a phenomenon where, when something terribly painful happens, especially when it’s unpredictable with no apparent end in sight, people have a tendency to ‘break’, say to hell with it, and make bad decisions in the name of escape. (Being in labor for two days comes to mind. At first one is all “No forceps, no vacuum, no intervention!”, and by the end it’s more “Do whatever the *%# you have to do to get this kid out!”) You always hear about that dynamic in terms of torture and so on. And solitary confinement is considered by many to be torture.

    I don’t think a situation like this brings out the best in anybody. I find myself wanting to resort to superstition, wanting to check my horoscope or finding comfort in dreams of the virus suddenly just disappearing. Other people fear not being able to feed their families and are rebelling in ways that put public health at risk. Everyone is suffering right now, and while it may not bring out the worst in people, again, I don’t think it brings out the best either. Maybe healthcare workers and people on the front lines, but for the rest of us, usually not so much.

    • Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      “I think it’s easy to tell yourself you’ve probably had it already.”

      Yes. My wife is always complaining about various aches and pains (she doesn’t read this website). She keeps saying that some recent episode was corona virus. I keep telling her that it isn’t likely since, even if she had a mild case, she would have infected others and one or more of them would have gotten seriously ill and no one has. Obviously I can’t be sure she didn’t have it. A test would put the matter to rest.

      “I find myself wanting to resort to superstition, wanting to check my horoscope or finding comfort in dreams of the virus suddenly just disappearing.”

      Even if we generally take a scientific and rational view of our world, we are still subject to all the prejudices that evolution has installed in us. When you think of consulting your horoscope, just say no.

      • Roo
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        I know horoscopes are ridiculous, and yet there’s some strange psychology about hearing someone tell you something decisively. It’s kind of like when I was a teenager and I would ask a Magic 8 ball if my most recent crush liked me. On the one hand, I knew it was totally random, on the other, if the answer was “No”, it was strangely devastating. Or if you get a really bad fortune in a fortune cookie, I think most people would feel at least a temporary wave of negative emotion, even though, again, it’s random. I assume we’re programmed to react a certain way to declarative statements since there were no fortune cookies in the Paleolithic era, ha ha!

        • Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

          “No fortune cookies in the Paleolithic era”

          Perhaps tea leaves and entrails?

  34. Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Whenever I see a protester with a “Give me Liberty or Give me Death” flag, I’m tempted to ask “Do you have a preference?” But I’d probably get shot!

  35. Matthew
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    The head of FreedomWorks stated that his members really got interested in protesting when they heard cellphones would be used in the tracking effort. To him, this was “An Orwellian Nightmare”. I think this says as much as you need to know about the intellect of the protestors.

    However, individual protestors really don’t matter. Are they ridiculous and incoherent? Yes, but so was the tea party and the tea party was highly successful in styming Obama and promoting the interests of a handful of ultra rich billionaires.

    The point of this astroturfing is to bring out the crazies, blame the governors for the economy, and somehow keep trump in power.

  36. Lee
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    “If they persist in their ignorance, as religious creationists often do, well, to hell with them.”

    Sad thing is if they don’t learn the truth in this life, they certainly won’t learn it in the next. There is no ultimate cosmic justice (e.g. hell) for those who reject truth in this life- truth with a lower case “t” – other than the somewhat stochastic karma of getting hurt by one’s own actions.

    And even then they don’t often have a flash of inspiration- “gee, my thinking has been mistaken all along”. They’re rational animals- rationalizing is what they do.

  37. Volodymyr
    Posted April 22, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Religiosity, ignorance and belief in free will make a quite dangerous mix. While any of those, separately, can be fine, combine them in a mob, and you’re heading for disaster. It’s a societal problem no individual efforts can solve. I really want to believe that after this pandemic, our society becomes wiser and would address this issue.


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