North Carolina Holds Lockdown Protest After State Records Highest Single-Day Coronavirus Deaths

Protesters took to the street once again in the city of Raleigh, North Carolina, as demonstrators demanded the state be reopened for business amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Hundreds of protesters rallied across the city on Tuesday, April 21, urging Governor Roy Cooper to remove the stay-at-home order put in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

A similar, but smaller, rally took place in Raleigh last Tuesday, with the Reopen NC group promising to repeat protests every Tuesday until the order is lifted.

Several GOP lawmakers, including Congressman Dan Bishop, Senator Vickie Sawyer and Representative Jerry Carter, were also in attendance at the rally.

"This group here today represents the majority of North Carolinians and they are here to remind Roy Cooper and other officials that Constitution isn't suspended—it's not under a stay-at-home order," Bishop told the North State Journal.

Other protesters called for Cooper to allow businesses to reopen in order to revive the economy.

"You're taking freedom away. You're taking the livelihood of your state away. There's a lot of people hurting desperately," Tina Guyotte told WBTV.

"If I'm a criminal, I'm a criminal, but I'm a patriot," Leonard Harrison added to the News and Observer. "Let the governor know we need to operate our businesses."

The protest took place one day after the state recorded the highest number of coronavirus deaths over a single day. North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services statistics revealed that 34 people died from COVID-19 on Monday.

Elsewhere during the rally, several protesters were seen loudly jeering medical personnel who were staging a counter-demonstration in support of the stay-at-home order.

According to The News and Observer, the protesters accused healthcare workers of spreading lies about the virus.

"I'm very concerned that we're opening North Carolina too early," pharmacist Nicholas Blanchard, who took part in the counter-demonstration, told the paper. "I'm here to try and get people to understand that this is a problem. I want people to follow the science and not their emotions."

Ashley Smith, one of ReOpen NC's founders, condemned the "disrespectful" protesters who confronted the workers.

"As we have no control over any outsiders, or even our own people, I can't be responsible for the behavior of people either good or bad," Smith told The News & Observer.

"But one important thing I want to say to you is that as a person I respect the opinions of everyone there, even those with opposing points of view.

"Do I believe that people in attendance should've jeered those healthcare workers? Of course not! That's disrespectful and that is not representative of our movement."

NC
(File photo) Protesters from a grassroots organization called ReOpen NC attend a previous demonstration held in Raleigh, North Carolina, on April 14, 2020. Logan Cyrus / AFP/Getty

Speaking at a news conference on the same day as the protest, Cooper said he will announce in the next few days if the stay-at-home order, due to expire on April 29, will be extended.

"We are working to ease restrictions in a responsible way, in a staged way," Cooper said. "We understand that we can't stay at home forever and this is not something that is sustainable long term.

"But what we have to do is ease back into it to make sure that this virus does not spike, which it very easily could do."

There are more than 7,100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina, with 245 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University. In total, 75,673 people have managed to recover from the virus across the U.S.

The infographic below, provided by Statista, shows the countries with the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of April 20.

Countries COVID-19 Cases
Statista

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.