The COVID-19 pandemic has people on both sides – those who believe in the stay-at-home order and support it and others who want and need life to go back to the way it was. Flags waving, handcrafted signs lifted into the air, and horns honking is what was going on in Pittsburgh recently. People surrounded the City-County building downtown to state their disagreement with Governor Tom Wolf’s stay-at-home order and closure of certain businesses.
People were saying that the Constitution was being ignored and that people have lost their jobs over this. Others were voicing their disbelief at what the public health professionals were saying about COVID-19, noting they don’t trust them. They were chanting for freedom and others were carrying semi-automatic weapons. The majority of protestors didn’t wear any masks and hardly anyone was staying 6 feet from one another. This same exact type of protest, just larger, was also happening in Harrisburg at the state’s Capitol building.
PA Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine stated that if people continued to gather like this, there will just be a higher chance that the virus will spread. At this time here are over 33,000 cases confirmed with COVID-19 and 1,200 deaths confirmed. She stressed the importance of social distancing and staying at home when necessary.
It wasn’t only citizen protesters that came. Politicians have also joined in the protests, all of them sharing how many lives are at stake, not from the virus, but from not working, going hungry, and from homelessness after not being able to afford their rent or mortgage payments.
All of the people surrounding the City-County Building downtown wanted Governor Wolf to stop these orders to stay-at-home and close businesses. However, later that day, Governor Wolf extended the state’s stay-at-home order further, until May 8th. The Governor stated that opening up businesses too soon could increase the number of COVID-19 cases and the death tolls, as well. He noted that this would also further extend the economic hardship that everyone is going through at this time.
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly put many people on edge. While everyone certainly has their right to peacefully protest, state health experts and others are still strongly encouraging people to stay-at-home and practice social distancing guidelines. Those who are for the stay-at-home order and social distancing guidelines are doing what they can to reduce the spread of this virus. Those who are against the stay-at-home order want to protect the livelihood of those who are suffering financially due to this pandemic. Both sides certainly have their points and their perspectives on this pandemic.
The Governor will reassess the situation nearing the end of the current extension of the stay-at-home order or when necessary.
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