Stop protesting COVID-19

Protesters not only put others at risk, they also put themselves at risk for nothing


Haley Wernz, Reporter

The growing number of protests against the COVID-19 quarantine shows ignorance in the midst of a pandemic.

Recently, there have been protests in Michigan demanding that the state reopen businesses RIGHT NOW. Other locations of protest were in California, Ohio, Indiana and Texas.  Armed with signs reading “I NEED A HAIRCUT” “TYRANTS GET THE ROPE”  and “GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH” (along with other nonsense), protesters swarmed Michigan’s state capital (without masks) and… just caused a big ruckus? Some protesters were even carrying guns inside the state capital building to get their point across, absolutely frothing at the mouth angry at the idea of maybe not having someone’s health at risk.

The main idea of the protest is that the COVID-19 quarantine goes against our Constitutional rights and that the government can’t decide what’s an “essential” business or not. According to the First Amendment, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. This means that basically, you have the right of free speech, free religion, and the right to go where you want. This says nothing about whether or not states can individually make decisions for their states. 

States have the right to protect the health of their civilians. This isn’t new. In a 1904 case called Jacobson v. Massachusetts, Jacobson refused to get a smallpox vaccine that was required by the state and was fined five dollars, according to the Legal Information Institute. He took this to court and it was argued whether or not this went against his 14th amendment right of equal protection of the law. Ultimately, it was decided by the Court that states did, in fact, have the right to impose requirements and restrictions on their civilians to protect the public health. Local boards of health can determine what they can require of their people. 

Not only are these people putting themselves at risk, but they’re also putting everyone around them at risk. Cramming themselves shoulder-to-shoulder outside state buildings without any protective gloves or masks really can’t be the smartest move for them, can it? The reason we need to stand six feet apart from other people when we’re out n’ about is due to how far your spit particles can travel, according to the CDC. If you’re any closer, germs from your nose and mouth can be shot out into someone else’s nose or mouth or even be inhaled into their lungs. Now, imagine these protesters. Practically touching the person beside them and (possibly) sending all sorts of nasty germs in their direction with every ignorant, spiteful (and spit-ful) war cry. 

In California, there have been 2,172 deaths from COVID-19 according to the CDC at the time of publication, but this didn’t stop protesters from storming Huntington Beach on May 1. “NO WORK NO MONEY NO HAIRCUTS,” read a sign held by a protester. Why are haircuts so important in the debate for the opening of the states? How vain and selfish do you have to be to consider yourself and how you look to be more important than the lives you’re possibly putting in danger by going out to get that haircut, going on that shopping spree, or getting that fake tan? Are they the “essential” businesses some people need to live?

Remember that one viral video of college kids who went out to Miami Beach during Spring Break just to “make the best of it” when all of the bars were closed? “If I get corona, I get corona. I’m not going to let it stop me,” a college student told CBS. Getting drunk and high on the beach is more important than the lives of the elderly, pregnant, and immune-compromised, obviously. Stupid is as stupid does, I guess. 

All in all, if you protest the quarantine you’re ignorant. You don’t need to be able to go to Walmart whenever you want for funsies just to look around and touch things with your grubby hands. You don’t need to put people at risk. It’s beyond wild that some people are putting themselves before people who need the quarantine to survive.