Residents of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, took to the streets on Monday to protest the state-mandated quarantine amid the pandemic spread of coronavirus. The massive gathering, which was live-streamed on YouTube, showed huge crowds standing outside the Capitol Complex, yelling for Governor Tom Wolf to reopen the state’s economy.
Like most other states throughout the nation, Pennsylvania is under a stay-at-home order to help keep hospitals safe from overflowing with patients as the world’s top scientists rush to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. As of April 20, coronavirus has taken the lives of over 40,000 Americans, according to NBC. In Pennsylvania, the state reported an average of 1,000 new coronavirus patients a day.
The video footage coming out of Harrisburg was disturbing for many viewers around the country. With millions of Americans dutifully hunkering down at home to do their part in stopping the spread of COVID-19, numerous users online voiced their frustration at seeing what appeared to be thousands of people protesting the seriousness of COVID-19.
The protesters marched outside while standing shoulder to shoulder, purposely ignoring the social distancing mandate. Many people could be seen holding signs featuring Trump campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
In the car procession parade, a man spray-painted “Jesus is my vaccine” on the front of his truck. One sign read, “Recall our commie gov! Wolf is a dick tator.” Other protest slogans were not related to coronavirus at all and expressed extreme right-wing political views as one sign clearly stated, “Ban homo marriage” while another read, “My body, my choice,” with a big red “X” over a face mask.
Some protestors left politics out of it, and showed up with signs saying, “Let me play golf, again.”
A Nurse In Harrisburg Held a Sign Reading ‘I Don’t Want You In My ICU, Go Home’
There are an estimated 50,000 people who live in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and while photos and videos of anti-quarantine protestors fill social media, there are numerous residents who staunchly oppose the rally taking place in their hometown.
The term “Covidiots” started trending on Twitter, as did the current number of people infected with COVID-19, so if that number skyrockets following the protest, there’s documented evidence. In Pennsylvania, over 33,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus, and over 1,200 have died from complications of COVID-19. In the month of April alone, over 1,000 new cases of coronavirus were reported in Pennsylvania.
Governor Tom Wolf Issued a Stay-At-Home Order Through May 8
Governor Tom Wolf previously extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 8, after which he conference that he would start looking to open the state. “We’re going to take the same measured approach in reopening as we did for closing,” Wolf said. “Everybody wants to get through this phase as quickly as possible.”
As for the protest happening in Harrisburg, Wolf said, “This is a democracy,” and hoped those taking part would practice social distancing. “Please stay safe,” he added.