(Natural News) A throng of anti-lockdown protesters gathered outside the home of Los Angeles County health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer, demanding that she lift the new three-week coronavirus restrictions.
At least 50 outraged L.A. residents gathered outside Ferrer’s Echo Park home. The protesters, some waving Americana flags and wearing “Make America Great Again” paraphernalia, shouted “Open L.A.” while waving signs that read “No science. No data. No shutdown.”
Order follows stricter statewide restrictions
L.A. County announced its latest “Safer at Home” order on Tuesday amid an alarming increase in Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and deaths. The restrictions included a ban on most gatherings, closures of playgrounds that aren’t a part of a school or childcare center and stricter limits on retail businesses.
The county had previously set a threshold for issuing the order: an average of 4,500 COVID-19 cases a day over a five-day period. But county officials had not expected to reach that level until December. Instead, on Friday, Nov. 27, the five-day average of new confirmed cases hit 4,751.
“We know we are asking a lot from so many who have been sacrificing for months on end,” Ferrer said. “Acting with collective urgency right now is essential if we want to put a stop to this surge.”
The order will remain in place until Dec. 20. It advises residents to stay at home “as much as possible” and to wear face coverings when they go out. But it does make exceptions for church services and protests, which the county Department of Public Health acknowledged as “constitutionally protected rights” in a statement.
The new restrictions come after a previously announced rule that suspended outdoor dining at restaurants throughout the county. On the other hand, Pasadena, which has its own health department, has opted to allow outdoor dining to continue.
Gov. Gavin Newsom also recently announced a new statewide curfew that forbids nonessential gatherings with members of other households between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. (Related: California Gov. Newsom declares new statewide coronavirus curfew.)
For the most part, residents of L.A. County have taken heed of the recent orders, which are meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
L.A. County is now averaging nearly 4,200 new coronavirus cases each day. This tally exceeds the number of daily cases that were reported in the summer.
In addition, hospitalizations have also been on the rise for the past two weeks. The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital is now just shy of 2,200, nearly meeting the previous high from the summer.
Angelenos unhappy with restrictions
Even as most Angelenos have accepted the restrictions, their patience is wearing thin and some have become more vocal in opposing them. The new restrictions have drawn the ire of business owners, exhausted parents as well as those simply exhausted with having to deal with restrictions from the pandemic.
“How dare you take away our guns and lock us in?” shouted one protester outside Ferrer’s home. Another carried a sign that read, “Newsom and Ferrer are non-essential.”
Some of the protestors also raised other grievances. These included the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, with a number bringing Trump flags and at least one holding a sign saying “Trump won.”
Several demonstrators also got into heated exchanges with Ferrer’s neighbors. At least one resident called the protesters “Nazis” and “fascists.”
With infections on the rise, the fear is that public officials may take even more onerous actions like those seen in other countries. China, for example, enforced strict quarantines and tested millions of people. Italy, on the other hand, brought in its military to enforce its shutdown.
But according to Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, such actions are unlikely to be enacted in America.
“It’s hard to imagine how much further you can go in a society like we have,” he said. “It’s a balancing act, right? You want people to obey it but you don’t want to make it so draconian that people are trying to figure out ways around it all the time.”
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