“We’re millennials, we’re healthy,” a young woman told The Washington Post as she sat with her friends outside a bustling lakeside grill in Missouri this weekend.
“The pandemic is made up,” said a man in line with his daughter, grandson and hundreds of strangers at a North Carolina speedway.
“I can't breathe!” chanted demonstrators who gathered by the thousands in cities across the country, quoting from George Floyd's final words as he lay dying under the weight of a Minneapolis police officer last week.
Be it from outrage, apathy or simple contrarianism, social distancing strictures are rapidly dissolving as crowds party, protest or riot in American cities that just days earlier resembled ghost towns. The coronavirus is almost certainly spreading among them, and already appears to be staging a national comeback. “Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin all set record highs for new cases reported Friday,” The Post wrote, noting that all those states relaxed their quarantine rules this month.
You can see photos of large protests across more than a dozen cities last night here.
“There’s going to be a lot of issues coming out of what’s happened in the last week, but one of them is going to be that chains of transmission will have become lit from these gatherings,” former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CBS News on Sunday.
At the same time, the disorder is making it harder for health officials to track and suppress new outbreaks. In Los Angeles, for example, uncontrolled protests caused the mayor to close all coronavirus testing centers in the city.
No one seems to be in control, or even trying to abate the chaos, our political desk wrote: In Minneapolis, “businesses burned to the ground. The nation watched on live TV as crowds looted liquor stores and other shops, with no pushback from the authorities.”
President Trump, who has repeatedly encouraged people to defy his own administration's quarantine guidelines, seemed to savor the idea of protesters and counterprotesters facing off in the streets. “Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???” he tweeted Saturday after Floyd demonstrators attacked Secret Service agents outside his residence.
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