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As the news media continues to whip people into frenzied masses and force governments into imposing irrational responses to the COVID-19 panic, here are some of the more extreme examples of how American liberties are being chipped away all in the name of promoting “safety.”
For the week of April 5 -11, 2020: (click on headlines for full story)
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) says the license plates of cars at mass gatherings will be recorded by Kentucky State Police this weekend as guidelines are still being enforced amid the COVID-19 panic. He specifically singled out churches in his decree. Troopers will record the license plate numbers of any vehicle at any gatherings. That information will be shared with local health officials who will contact the people connected to those cars telling them they must self-quarantine for 14 days. At the time the order was issued, the state of 4,468,000 people had 1,693 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 90 reported deaths.
A Philadelphia bus driver called police after a passenger who was not wearing a mask was ordered to get off the bus. Ironically, the same driver enforcing the rule wasn’t wearing a mask either. In response, 10 police officers started yanking the man from the bus as he screamed for them to let him go, throwing his cellphone and other possessions to the ground. Once removed, the man was not cited or arrested.
Tech giants Apple and Google may soon enter into an unprecedented partnership to turn smartphones into coronavirus tracking devices in an effort to alert people if they have come into contact with an infected individual. The two companies said phones will start utilizing Bluetooth data to track users’ locations. If a user comes down with the coronavirus, his or her movements over the last two weeks could be re-traced to determine who else may be infected with the disease.
Police served a summons to the pastor of Lighthouse Fellowship in Chincoteague Island for holding a church service for 16 people spaced far apart in a sanctuary that seats 293. The charge is violating Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s (D) COVID Order 55 with a penalty up to a year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. Not only that, but after issuing Pastor Wilson a summon, police informed him that if he had service on Easter, and if more than ten people attended, everyone would receive the same summons. The state of 8,536,000 people has 5,077 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 130 deaths.
In videos posted Thursday night, U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) push for a seemingly socialist overhaul of the U.S. government in reaction to the coronavirus outbreak. The first-term congresswomen call for the removal of a “profit motive” from lawmakers’ decisions and the “nationalization” of the nation’s health care system.
They have been critical of President Trump’s decision to allow the governors and legislatures of the nation’s 50 states, as well as U.S. territories, to largely set their own strategies for reacting to the virus – which has affected regions to varying degrees.
Michigan residents can no longer visit friends or relatives anywhere in the state, even if it means crossing the street. However, they can still visit state parks. “All public and private gatherings of any size are prohibited,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) at a news conference. “People can still leave the house for outdoor activities,” and outdoor “recreational activities are still permitted as long as they’re taking place outside of six feet from anyone else.” The state of 9,987,000 people has 22,783 confirmed cases and 1,281 reported deaths.
After Tuesday night’s violence that left seven people dead and 14 injured, and the inability for some to follow the stay at home order, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) has placed a 9 p.m. liquor purchasing curfew starting Thursday. The coupling of the gun violence with measures to have people follow the stay-at-home order is what Lightfoot said is necessary to have the liquor curfew. In addition, the city threatened to shut down Airbnb locations as “non-essential” businesses despite the homes being temporary shelters for people to stay while complying with travel restrictions and caring for sick relatives. The city of 2.7 million people has 7,278 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 212 deaths.
In an interview with CBS News, James Bullard, the president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said, “There is a solution using available technology today to fix the economic part of this problem. The solution is universal testing. What you want is every single person to get tested every day.
“And then they would wear a badge like they would after they voted or something like that to show that they’ve been tested. This would immediately sort out who’s been infected and who hasn’t been infected. That would help the health care sector. But it would also help the economy because we could interact with each other with a lot of confidence.
In the past 10 days, at least a half dozen Independence Day events have been scrapped across the nation, from Redwood City, Calif., to Southport, N.C., to Ithaca, N.Y. Some of the canceled events date back more than 225 years. In each case, apologetic community leaders have cited the risk of people possibly being infected by a virus that has killed more than 19,600 people in the United States as of April 10. “It is my recommendation during this COVID-19 Pandemic that … this celebration of independence and freedom be canceled to assist in stopping the spread of this contagious disease,” said Southport Mayor Joseph Hatem.
If you want to go for a walk in Beverly Hills, Calif., or do anything else outdoors in that city, you’re going to have to cover your face. City officials have decreed that everyone must sport some type of face covering when they leave their homes — be it mask, scarf, bandanna or cloth, Deadline reported. City officials noted that drivers traveling alone or with members of their households do not need to cover up “unless they must lower their windows for any purpose such as to interact with first responders, food service workers or others who are not members of their households.”
Police in Beverly, Mass., have mandated that locals who are walking in opposite directions along bustling Lothrop Street must now use separate sidewalks so that they are not brushing up against one another. Pedestrians must now walk against traffic and failure to comply with the new directive could result in a $100 fine. Michael Cahill (D) is mayor of the city in Essex County where there are 4,052 confirmed cases of the illness and 172 deaths in the county populated by 785,000 people.
In multiple instances around America, communities are banning the use of leaf blowers for fear that they contribute to the spread of COVID-19. “Blowing all this stuff in the air,” said Ken Wray (D), the mayor of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., though he used a cruder word than stuff. “It’s just completely not necessary to do that. Sometime around 20 years ago, guys stopped blow-drying their hair and started blow-drying their lawns.”
Because some stores deemed “essential” are selling products that “non-essential” companies cannot, Vermont ordered all big box stores to stop selling products the state considers non-essential, like clothing and electronics. So people being in the store is okay, but they just can’t buy certain products unless they order it online for home-delivery or onsite pickup.
“Large ‘big box’ retailers generate significant shopping traffic by virtue of their size and the variety of goods offered in a single location. This volume of shopping traffic significantly increases the risk of further spread of this dangerous virus to Vermonters and the viability of Vermont’s health care system. We are directing these stores to put public health first and help us reduce the number of shoppers,” said Lindsay Kurrle, Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary. She was appointed by Governor Phil Scott (R).
With hundreds of thousands of people in Michigan confined to their homes by government edict, they’ll be left with little to do other than watch TV thanks to new restrictions imposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) this week. “Essential” stores will no longer be able to sell carpeting, flooring, furniture, garden centers, plant nurseries or paint. “If you’re not buying food or medicine or other essential items, you should not be going to the store,” Whitmer said of her decision during a Thursday news conference.
Alabama is one of at least two states that is currently sharing the addresses, but not names, of confirmed COVID-19 patients with emergency response personnel to protect those responders from becoming infected. Normally, that information would be shielded to comply with patient confidentiality law, but Alabama and Massachusetts determined that the benefits to public safety outweigh privacy concerns.
According to Education Week, 55.1 million students in the United States attending 124,000 public and private schools have been impacted by closures due to COVID-19. In fact, 19 states and 3 U.S. territories have ordered school buildings closed for the remainder of the academic year. One state, North Dakota, has ordered schools closed indefinitely. A map shows the status of school closures throughout the country.
Furious homeowners in a popular North Carolina vacation spot have filed a lawsuit against officials for denying them access to their second homes due to coronavirus, claiming their constitutional rights have been infringed. Following a March 20 state of emergency declaration, checkpoints along major highways require drivers to produce a North Carolina driver’s license or a “permanent resident permit” to proceed across one of the two bridges that access the Outer Banks area. The state does not allow people to access the current case count.
The National Guard assisted Rhode Island police with house-to-house searches on Saturday to seek out anyone who has traveled from New York and force them to self-isolate. Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) issued an executive order in late March establishing interstate stops and stationing officers at bus stops and train stations to identify New Yorkers and order them to self-quarantine. The order applies to anyone who has been in New York within the past two weeks and will remain in place until at least April 25.
As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 tops the 500,000 mark and deaths approach 19,000, more than 17 million people have now filed for unemployment benefits in what the Washington Post calls “a rapid and unprecedented deterioration in the U.S. economy.” The nation has not experienced this magnitude of layoffs and economic contraction since the Great Depression, the paper noted. Last week, 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits, just shy of the record set the week of March 28, when 6.9 million people filed for aid.
The control bug is also infecting other parts of the world, too
A group of sunbathing nudists in the Czech Republic were recently told they needed to cover up, just not in the way that most would expect. “Citizens can be without clothes in places designated for this purpose, but they must have their mouths covered and must observe the numbers in which they can go into nature,” a spokesperson for the local police told the New York Post.
Dr. Kirsten Gilardi, the chief veterinary officer for wildlife charity Gorilla Doctors, doesn’t know if it has yet infected mountain gorillas. But she told the BBC, “Because mountain gorillas are susceptible to human pathogens, we know that they can develop respiratory illnesses.” As a precautionary measure, gorilla tourism in Africa has been suspended.
Virus numbers as of 10:30 p.m. Central on April 11, 2020
Confirmed cases in the United States = 529,887
Percent of population infected = 0.162%
COVID-related deaths in the United States = 20,604
Percent of population killed = 0.000063%
Confirmed cases worldwide = 1,777,517
Percent of population infected = 0.0237%
COVID-related deaths worldwide = 108,862
Percent of population killed = 0.00145%
Infected in the United States = 45,000,000
Hospitalized = 810,000
Died = 61,000
Restrictions in place: None