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Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus task force coordinator, expressed concern Sunday over growing protests against COVID-19 “stay-as-home” orders, saying last week’s protests in Michigan were “devastatingly worrisome to me personally.”
Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” where host Chris Wallace engaged in some good old-fashioned fear-mongering to coax Birx into chastising Americans for protesting, the doctor spoke about the guidelines in place to mitigate the coronavirus.
“We’ve made it clear that the guidelines are based on very strong evidence and data, and that’s the way Dr. Fauci is also driven,” Birx explained. “We want to make sure that every individual, every employer, and every person knows how to keep themselves safe in this situation.”
She added that governors have also been asked to make information available to the public, including where the hot spots are in states.
Wallace responded by effectively mocking just how intelligent some Americans are.
Referring to Californians going to the beach, he asked Birx if that is safe.
“If it’s done with social distancing, yes. If it’s not done with social distancing, no,” she responded.
“There was no social distancing,” Wallace said, looking down his nose. “Which is one of the reasons the governor shut those beaches.”
Southern California residents took to the beaches last week amid a heatwave, in defiance of restrictions in place due to COVID-19, and Gov. Gavin Newsom issued orders Thursday calling for a “hard close” of all state and local beaches.
When residents pushed back against the heavy-handed tactics, the Democratic governor doubled down on tough enforcement of his stay-at-home order by going “full war mode.”
Going in the opposite direction, Wallace then targeted governors — see Republican — who are beginning to ease restrictions in an effort to reopen the economy.
Birx said when both parties are wearing masks, such as when getting a haircut, that it’s “safer,” but not in line with the task force’s recommended Phase 1 activities.
Wallace then pointed to protests in Michigan to ask if that’s a safe activity.
“Big crowds of protesters that went into the Michigan state capitol without masks,” Wallace said. “I’m not asking you about the First Amendment right to protest that of course they have, but from a public health standpoint, is that safe?”
Lost in the mix is that if heavy-handed officials like Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Greta Whitmore would allow Americans to take responsibility for themselves, as they have an inherent right to do, and let them return to their lives, there would not be massive crowds protesting.
Her authoritarian orders have included dictating to stores what they can and cannot sell, and banning visits between family members.
“It’s devastatingly worrisome to me personally, because if they go home and infect their grandmother or their grandfather who has a comorbid condition and they have a serious or very unfortunate outcome, they will feel guilty for the rest of our lives,” Birx said. “So we need to protect each other at the same time we’re voicing our discontent.”
The response fails to take into consideration that many of those protesting understand and accept that with freedom comes responsibilities and consequences, and while they are not content to cower in fear, they are also not going to blame others for the decisions they make.
Besides, one could argue the more likely blame would fall on the officials who are backing people into a corner by stripping them of their God-given rights.
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