Shocker: Astroturf Protests Actually COVID-19 Bug-Chaser Conventions
Last month, about 1,500 protesters gathered at the Wisconsin state Capitol to oppose Gov. Tony Evers's tyrannical stay-at-home order. Now at least 72 people who attended the rallies have since tested positive for the coronavirus. Wisconsin's Department of Health Services can't confirm that they caught COVID-19 at the rally, but according to state DHS spokesperson Elizabeth Goodsitt, when someone tests positive, they're asked if they did something stupid like attend a large gathering with other dummies.
(We're kidding: Goodsitt didn't call anyone a dummy. People who tested positive were just asked if they'd attended a large gathering, which Wonkette contends only stupid would do right now.)
This could mean around five percent of protesters left the rallies and began spreading COVID-19 across the state — which may indeed be what happened, because on Saturday the DHS reported 502 new coronavirus cases from a round of 6,051 tests. That's the largest single-day increase in cases since the pandemic started.
Wisconsin's total number of confirmed coronavirus cases is at present 12,187, and 453 people have died. Here's the kicker: Around 17 percent of all positive cases ended up hospitalized. Those figures are more than enough to keep my ass at home, but I bailed on parties in my 20s because it was cold out and a good "Law & Order" episode was on.
But that's not all! On April 7, Wisconsin Republicans insisted that the state hold its primary election with in-person voting as scheduled. The obvious voter suppression tactic didn't work. People still turned out, and even rightwing hack Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly was thrown out on his ass. The less good news is that 67 people who've tested positive for COVID-19 also reported having been at the polls. Again, health officials can't conclusively determine where they were exposed. Guess we'll never know! Let's head to the bars.
Bars open as Wis. court rejects stay-at-home order www.youtube.com
Wisconsin was one of several states, including Michigan, Illinois, Colorado, California, and Florida, where spoiled brats gathered for anti-lockdown Coronapaloozas. The Guardian received cell phone location data suggesting that participants likely traveled hundreds of miles to these astroturfed events. (How bored were they?) When the party's over, the protesters take their corona-tainted selves all across the state and even to neighboring ones.
When gun-toting terrorists stormed Gretchen Whitmer's castle in Michigan, one device present was tracked to and from Afton — more than 180 miles from Lansing. Others even crossed the Indiana border, which is more than two hours away. During the two days after the earlier “Operation Gridlock" protest, devices were traced to Wyoming, Nebraska, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Utah.
These protests are obviously not spontaneous events, but when Facebook finally started blocking protesters from using its platform to organize these public health hazards, conservatives cried, “Censorship!" because they don't know what censorship means. This includes sitting US senators, such as Missouri's Josh Hawley, whom Vice President Kamala Harris will probably have to face in the 2024 presidential election.
Because free speech is now illegal America? https://t.co/kLsSV3B6GI— Josh Hawley (@Josh Hawley)1587394748.0
Haircut freedom fighter Ted Cruz also said in a statement that "[n]ow, more than ever, companies like Facebook should focus on connecting people, not shutting down communities because they hold different views." Uh, Senator, “connecting people" physically during a pandemic is the problem, especially when the advertised events are against the law. Conservatives are still fighting the culture war by 2019 rules of engagement. Americans will literally die now.
This morning, Pete Hegseth at “Fox & Friends" visited a New Jersey gym that was about to open in defiance of the state's stay-at-home order. Governor Phil Murphy is a Democrat, and many of the people gathered — against social distancing guidelines — to support the gym owners were openly Donald Trump supporters.
Fox & Friends is banking on a live confrontation this morning between a New Jersey gym owner and the state police. https://t.co/uVUsH0EbO4— Bobby Lewis (@Bobby Lewis)1589800718.0
Hegseth claimed Ian Smith, co-owner of Atilis Gym, was “representing a voice for millions." Fox News actively feeds the egos of these shutdown scofflaws and presents them as martyrs for freedom. This is beyond dangerous.
The police eventually arrived at the gym and informed the owners they were in violation of the governor's executive order. But it's not like they were selling loose cigarettes or swimming in a pool. An officer just gave them a warning.
Formally, you are all in violation of the executive order. On that note, have a good day. Everybody be safe.
The crowd erupted in triumphant cheers. People are going to die.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).