Anti-Maskers Hold Corona-Party At Utah County Commissioners Meeting
Yesterday, China, where the first outbreaks of COVID-19 occurred, had a total of six new (officially reported) cases. Italy, the first Western country to shut down to stop the spread of the virus, had 162. Right now, there are only 12,493 active cases there. In fact, whereas practically every other nation on earth is getting this under control, the United States had 71,750 new cases — only 37 fewer than our all time high, which also occurred long after other countries were on the other side of the curve. We had been on our way there ourselves, too. But then a bunch of people had to be assholes and we got back on an upswing. A very, very steep upswing.
And now, despite how it's becoming extremely obvious that the only way to end this is by not being assholes and just doing the social distancing and mask-wearing and contact tracing that has helped other countries get to the other side of this, we've still got assholes screaming in crowded town meetings for their rights not to do any of those things.
Take Utah (please).
Yesterday, the commissioners of Utah County (south of Salt Lake, where Provo is) held a meeting to vote on a proposal introduced by County Commissioner Bill Lee to ask the state for "compassionate exemptions" to Governor Gary Herbert's mask mandate for K-12 schools. How that would be "compassionate," we never found out, because they never voted on it. Why? Because over 100 anti-maskers dropped by to crowd together while screaming about the virus being a hoax.
Utah County Commission Chairman Tanner Ainge, realizing that the huge amount of people in the room violated health guidelines, immediately suggested the vote be postponed, and the motion passed 2-1. Lee, however, decided to stick around and let his supporters, whom he had invited by email to drop by and "peacefully express their concerns," sound off.
It weren't pretty.
OMG the Utah County Karens are going to get us all killed. https://t.co/sSsP5yoWDX— 𝕬𝖓 801 𝕺𝖗𝖎𝖌𝖎𝖓𝖆𝖑 🥁 (@𝕬𝖓 801 𝕺𝖗𝖎𝖌𝖎𝖓𝖆𝖑 🥁)1594847786.0
A dad who spoke after her said he [...] doesn't think the masks are effective, and said he's pulling his kids out of school this fall if the state doesn't lift its mandate requiring all K-12 students to wear a face covering. Another mother carried her 4-year-old son in her arms, noting there's no way he would keep one on in his kindergarten class — but she thinks they're stupid anyway, regardless of age.
Parent after parent followed at the Utah County commission meeting Wednesday afternoon, objecting for more than two hours to having their kids in masks even as counts of the virus continue to climb across the state, where there are more than 30,000 confirmed cases.
They packed into the small boardroom to talk, pulling tape off the seats meant to maintain social distancing and crowding in against the walls. They wore "Trump 2020" hats and carried little American flags, and every time someone said "freedom" or "constitutional rights" the whole room cheered. Almost no one wore a mask; those who did had them pulled under their chins.
Yes. 30,000 confirmed cases. More than double Italy's current number of active cases. There are three million people in Utah and 60 million people in Italy. Just something to think about for a moment.
Ironically, had they not pulled this shit, the proposal would have succeeded, as both Lee and Commissioner Nathan Ivie said they would have voted for it. Ainge, however, said he'd already spoken to the governor's office about it and had been informed it would have been dead on arrival.
As he left, Ainge stopped outside the building to answer questions from reporters and some of the protesters, and pointed out that the commission doesn't have any power regarding the mask mandate for students because it is a directive issued by the state and the local school district.
One woman pushed back, yelling at Ainge and asking him why he would force her daughter to wear a mask. Ainge again affirmed the school mask mandate wasn't his decision.
Immediately after, the woman experienced what appeared to be a panic attack and was transported to a hospital by paramedics.
So if you're an anti-mask Republican and you end up getting COVID-19 because you went to a stupid meeting like this with no one wearing masks and paying a ridiculous amount of money for an ambulance, do you win some kind of lottery? Or is the personal satisfaction you get enough?
Also. While not everyone in Utah is a Mormon, 62 percent of them are. How much crossover is there between people who wear blessed undergarments to keep sin away and people who won't wear masks to keep a virus away?
Does it get weirder? Of course it gets weirder.
Denna Robertson, one of the rally organizers, said she's "absolutely" comfortable sending children back to school without masks. She said wearing masks is not a public health issue because she believes COVID-19 was manufactured in a lab.
"Coronavirus is man-made. It's a weaponized virus," Robertson said.
She accused Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, and business magnate and philanthropist Bill Gates of being part of creating the virus to usher in "a new world order" by reducing the world population to 5 million people.
Robertson, who's also a mother and grandmother, said she isn't concerned about contracting the virus from one of her grandchildren.
"If I'm infected with COVID, it's because I've not been taking care of my immune system. You know how your immune system gets strong? It's by being in the dirt and getting exposed to bacteria and viruses," Robertson said.
I have so many questions! Number one being that if the virus is man-made, why would that mean her grandchildren wouldn't get it at school if no one was wearing a mask? Does Denna Robertson have some kind of inside information the rest of us aren't privy to? Also like, if it's Bill Gates's evil goal to reduce the planet to five million people, then why does she want to help him along by getting it?
This is all so complicated. Or it would be, if a single thing she said was true.
Curiously, the "We love freedom!" crowd was not okay with other people exercising their freedom to wear masks and have their kids wear masks.
One woman in the crowd shouted, "take the mask off that poor boy" to a kid wearing a mask with his parents who were in attendance.
The Right loves to talk about how the Left doesn't love America. We don't wear enough flag pins and other flag accessories. We don't care much for war. But at least we're not going around trying to kill everyone in America with our selfishness, and in the end, that may be the more patriotic way to go.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse