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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

'We're Not Afraid of Any Virus': Crowds Gathered Outside of Ohio Statehouse Protesting Coronavirus Shutdowns

Posted By on Tue, Apr 14, 2020 at 10:19 AM

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Crowds gathered outside of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus during Gov. Mike DeWine's daily COVID-19 press briefing on the afternoon of April 13 to protest statewide shutdowns.

This isn't the first protest regarding the pandemic-related business closures and stay at home order: About 75 protestors gathered on Thursday, April 9 according to an article by WOSU.

Virtually none of today's protestors can be seen wearing cloth face masks at the gathering — although there's definitely at least one person in a Guy Fawkes mask — and it appears the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommended six-foot social distancing guideline to prevent the spread of the virus was largely ignored.

Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler posted about the protestors on her Twitter. You can see their signs proclaiming things like, "Open Ohio: We want our rights back" and "My inherent rights don't end where your fear begins."

Notable anti-vaccine advocate Scott Shoemaker attended the protestor rally, interviewing several participants about where they came from and why.

One protestor, a Cleveland-area nurse named Jessica who was recently let go from her outpatient job because she says there weren't enough people coming in, explains that she came down to show her kids how important their freedoms are and explains "we're not afraid of any viruses."

Another interviewee from Findlay named Brittany traveled to the protest with her 19-month old baby, noting that she doesn't believe the shutdown is within the scope of Gov. DeWine's power.

Protestors can be heard in the background chanting "O-H-I-O Acton's got to go" and "Open Ohio now." Many also appear to believe that the Ohio Department of Health and Acton are falsifying their case numbers.

According to Shoemaker, he believes there were about 200-300 people at the rally.

As of today, the Ohio Department of Health is reporting 6,975 total cases of COVID-19 under their new method, which includes the CDC's expanded case definition of probable infections. In addition, more than 2,000 people have been hospitalized, 613 have been admitted to the ICU and 274 have died.

Despite protestors' concerns, the Ohio Department of Health and Dr. Acton constantly reiterate the importance of social distancing and other measures taken by the state to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

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