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Protests and Trump tweets: desperation to reopen America at fever pitch

Protesters in downtown Annapolis, MD. Photo: Tom Brenner/Reuters

Posted: April 20, 2020 at 4:50 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Protests erupted in some US cities last week and over the weekend, with citizens packing the streets, in spite of the COVID-19 stay at home orders. There’s a growing outcry for state governments to reopen their economies as frustration has greatly heightened among some groups and individuals who are tired of waiting at home for the pandemic curve to flatten. Protesters who gathered with weapons in public spaces in defiance of social distancing orders received President Trump’s positive attention. On Friday, he joined their cries for independence with tweets stirring more controversy.  

Kate Dalley, a conservative radio host in St. George, Utah, asked on a Facebook livestream, “Why ruin our lives to keep us safe?” She added, “Give me a three-day virus, I’m totally cool with that, just don’t ruin my life to do it.”

People who have symptoms for three days and get better are obviously not the concern behind a closed global economy, though. The regard is for the high percentage of people who are getting severely ill from the virus, in spite of stay-at-home orders, and the already heavy burden on hospitals. The University of Chicago Medicine notes, “It’s important to remember that every single one of us is susceptible to this infection and there are no vaccines or antivirals. And our hospitals and clinics are not able to handle all of us being sick at the same time.” 

Furthermore, workers who keep essential businesses open and are already at risk are put at higher threat for exposure by fewer people following stay-at-home guidelines. UChicago Medicine heeds, “Any re-opening of the economy will require us to return to strict containment measures including 14-day quarantines for those who are exposed.”

Rob Davidson, an emergency room physician in a rural hospital, spoke to NPR about how he often is the only ER doctor with a 25 patient capacity. He shared his great fear is that if as a nation “we assume that we’re in better shape than we are and we reopen too quickly,” community spread could end up in places it has not yet reached, and the results would be devastating.

In spite of research showing government orders to keep as many people home as possible have helped decrease spread of the virus, Trump deferred to states to make their own decisions. Now, demonstrators with weapons have started to gather on state grounds to demand that governors reopen their economies. 

In spite of allowing state officials to decide how to move forward with pandemic measures, Trump then targeted Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia with tweets on Friday calling for each state to “liberate” their citizens from their state orders. He also told Virginia citizens that their second amendment was “under siege” and must be saved. Each state had been the target of armed protests on Wednesday or Thursday, so some believe that Trump is trying to incite violent insurrections in those states.

On Thursday, the US surpassed Italy and China in known COVID-19 cases and at least 44 migrants on a deportation flight out of the U.S. to Guatemala tested positive for the virus this week.

Rohingya refugees rescued after nearly two months at sea

A group of almost 400 refugees who left Bangladesh on a boat approximately two months ago have finally been saved from the sea.

The boat was turned away from ports in Malaysia and Myanmar and spent 58 days drifting at sea. Refugees claimed that more than 30 people died due to starvation and illness, and their bodies were thrown overboard. 

Bangladesh found the boat on Wednesday and reported that the refugees were rescued, but starving and dehydrated. They are now under the care of the United Nations Refugee Agency and will be quarantined for 14 days due to coronavirus concerns. 

Trump campaign reportedly skirting Federal Election Commission requirements to pay significant others of president’s sons

According to a HuffPost report, Trump’s reelection campaign is covertly paying Lara Trump, wife of Eric Trump, and Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., each $15,000 a month, totalling $180,000 a year. 

The report cites two anonymous GOP sources who are “informal White House advisers” and claim the payments are made through the company of Trump’s campaign manager, Bradley Parscale.

The setup is suspicious because payments made from Parscale’s company are not reported as campaign spending and are not public knowledge. Therefore, the payments are made with donated money in a way that would prevent donors from finding out.

Furthermore, Federal Election Commission rules require campaigns and political parties, among other committees, disclose their spending in detail. This includes payments to employees, so even if Lara Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle are employed by the campaign, payments to them are required disclosure.  

“I can pay them however I want to pay them,” Parscale said on Friday, before declining further comment.

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