Covidiot. Noun. A person who acts like an irresponsible idiot during the COVID-19 [novel coronavirus] pandemic, ignoring sense, decency, science, and professional advice leading to the further spread of the virus and needless deaths of thousands.
Today, cities across the United States witnessed gatherings of covidiots — people acting irresponsibly during a public health emergency by deliberately disregarding orders to stay home and stay healthy. One such gathering, featuring disgraced initiative promoter turned gubernatorial candidate Tim Eyman, took place at the Capitol Campus in Olympia, with more than two thousand in attendance.
Thousands of protesters gathered at the state Capitol on Sunday afternoon to rally against Governor Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order that is in effect in Washington until at least May 4th.
The peaceful protest started at the Capitol steps and drew a crowd as far down as the Tivoli Fountain.
Tyler Miller, the event organizer, said he understands the public health concerns and agrees people need to take precautions, but the stay-at-home order takes it too far.
Miller clearly does not understand the public health concerns underpinning the Governor’s stay home, stay healthy orders, or else he wouldn’t have put his life and others’ lives at risk by illegally organizing a large gathering of people today.
Yes, the First Amendment guarantees the right to peaceably assemble.
But no right is absolute. If people are allowed to do whatever they want, then they can deprive other people of their freedoms. And that defeats the purpose of having a Bill of Rights in the first place. People who get sick and die from the novel coronavirus cannot exercise their First Amendment rights… or any other rights guaranteed to them by either the federal or state constitutions.
There is no liberty or pursuit of happiness without life.
Life comes first.
The governor’s orders are intended to save lives and compliance with them has saved lives. Washington and the Left Coast have showed the country how to “flatten the curve” and prevent the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed and paralyzed from an explosion of SARS-CoV‑2 cases.
What makes COVID-19 so insidious and dangerous is that it’s extremely infectious. In a video that exploded in popularity last month, Hugh Montgomery explained the difference between “normal flu” and COVID-19.
THIS THIS THIS OVER AND OVER AGAIN. THIS. Please watch and share. Brilliantly and simply put. pic.twitter.com/LAlAvq0jg7
— Greg James (@gregjames) March 22, 2020
If you infect 1.3 people with the flu, and they infect 1.3 people, and so on, after that has happened 10 times you will have been directly responsible for giving the flu to 14 people. Do the math.
If you infect 3 people with COVID-19, and they infect 3 people, and they infect three people… you will have been responsible for a whopping 59,049 people. Do the math.
People with COVID-19 can be asymptomatic for as long as 2 weeks before symptoms first start to present. In fact, it is now believed that many people with COVID-19 infections might never present any symptoms at all. The only way to be certain you don’t have it is with a negative test, and novel coronavirus tests are still very difficult to come by. That means the only way to be certain you don’t have it and infect other people, or to be certain that you aren’t infected by someone else who has COVID-19, is to shelter in place.
Hence Governor Inslee’s stay home, stay healthy orders.
The right wingers who showed up at the Capitol Campus today evidently have no understanding of the science underpinning the public health strategy that has been implemented to combat COVID-19. Their ignorance is dangerous.
Appropriately, their illegal gathering drew a rebuke from Inslee himself.
Said the Governor:
“I hear every day from people who want to go back to work, open their businesses and spend time with their friends and family. Most of them are doing what must be done first to accomplish that: They’re staying home.”
“These are difficult and frustrating times. I understand the urgency of this crisis. However, this is not the time to halt the progress we have made.”
“I encourage everyone in our state to stay home, stay healthy and, if you need to go out, practice adequate physical distancing.
“Comments in the news today by some Republican legislators calling for ‘open rebellion,’ claiming a ‘deep state’ plot and other radical statements are irresponsible and could needlessly lead to more people getting sick.”
“I hope Republican legislative leaders will speak out against such rhetoric from their members. I support free speech. But crowd counts or speeches won’t determine our course. This isn’t about politics. It can only be about doing what is best for the health of all Washingtonians.”
It would be one thing if these right wing protestors were only putting their own lives at risk. But they’re not. Covidiots aren’t just a danger to themselves, they’re a menace to others. A covidiot who catches the virus may have no idea they have it, and may end up giving it to other people who are dutifully trying to stay home except for occasional trips to obtain essential supplies like food or medicine.
Many of the restless right wingers out protesting were armed with Trump signs. They appear to be very concerned that the pandemic and the economic contraction connected to it could sink Donald Trump’s prospects for reelection.
They worship Trump, and a big part of Trump’s “game plan” for reelection in 2020 was to claim that he is an economic genius. But it’s hard for a president to argue his presence in office is good for the economy when the economy is doing badly.
They are thus as desperate as Trump is for shuttered businesses to reopen and for everything to go back to the way it was before COVID-19.
But there is no going back. We cannot return to the past. We can only move forward. The shortest road to recovery entails physical distancing. As hard as that may be for some people to practice, it’s absolutely necessary.
Businesses and economies can be rebuilt. But unlike God, we cannot raise the dead. Once we lose someone to COVID-19, they’re gone and we can’t bring them back. You might think that people who proudly describe themselves as “pro-life” would understand this better than anyone. Sadly, you would be mistaken.