Enduring racist abuse and standing up to those who don't understand the severity of the ongoing outbreak, nurses halted anti-lockdown protestors.
The American economy has come to a screeching halt in light of the ongoing pandemic. Thousands of workers in the United States have been laid off and many small businesses have had to shutter down as they could not afford to stay open without a steady flow of customers. Much of this is due to the stay-at-home directives issued by local government officials. Over the past few days, major cities in the United States have seen a rise in protests by those who want to go back to work. However, doing so would endanger their lives. Medical staff in Denver, Colorado, halted such a protest to ensure the sanctity of public health, The Evening Standard reports.
Two nurses, who have witnessed first hand the toll Covid is taking in Colorado, stood up and peacefully counter protested. Here is how they were treated. I had join them. pic.twitter.com/iJnNcqZxSv— Marc Zenn (@MarcZenn) April 19, 2020
Hundreds of people gathered in the city of Denver Sunday afternoon as part of "Operation Gridlock," an organized group of protests fighting against Governor Jared Polis' stay-at-home order set to expire only on April 26. Sitting in their vehicles, these individuals honked their horns, waved through their sunroofs, and held banners outside their car windows. As they clogged the city's streets with traffics, some local heroes took to those very roads in order to counterprotest. A team of medical staff, dressed in scrubs and face masks, stood on pedestrian crossings to send a message. As they have all worked on the frontlines of the battle against the pandemic, they knew that lifting preventative lockdown measures too soon would only result in dangerous consequences.
While some protestors got aggressive with the medical workers, they remained silent and unmoved. In one particular case, an Asian nurse was seen being confronted by a protestor. Videos posted on various social media platforms display a white woman in her car shouting at the resolute nurse. He was standing on the crosswalk in front of her car. The white woman, holding a banner that read "land of the free," yelled, "Go to China if you want communism. You can go to work why can’t I go to work?" Videos of the encounter have since gone viral, with users praising his ability to maintain peace. Some have even called the counterprotesters heroes.
One social media user stated, "These two incredible nurses were peacefully counter-protesting at red lights in Denver Colorado where folks protesting the stay at home orders were blocking traffic for ambulances and driving recklessly, shouting obscenities." Another added, "Not all heroes wear capes." Indeed, some heroes wear medical scrubs and PPE. As of early morning on Monday, there were 9,433 positive cases of Coronavirus and 411 deaths in Colorado alone. Nonetheless, protestors are warranted in their call to return to work. Since the outbreak began, 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits. Should the pandemic - and the ensuing lockdowns - continue, millions of Americans may not know how to pay rent, put food on the table, or take care of their families. However, overburdening medical facilities because of a spike in the number of cases is not the way forward - whether that be through protests or prematurely ending precautionary stay-at-home orders.