Oklahoma lockdown protest organizer: 'We really don't believe that we have a peak to reach yet'

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Lori Gracey, the organizer of rallies protesting coronavirus-induced restrictions in Oklahoma, told "The Story" Monday that her group, "OK Back 2 Work" is very concerned about the spread of coronavirus, but equally apprehensive about the effect of the restrictions on the state and national economy.

"We came up with the idea [for demonstrations] just a couple weeks ago [on] about the ninth of this month and we said we'd like to give people in Oklahoma, in particular, an opportunity for their voices to be heard and to be able to do that in a way that they [protesters] can continue to social distance if they are concerned with that," she said.

"So we decided we would do a rolling rally first at the Capitol [in Oklahoma City] and then today we did it at city hall so people can write up on their cars what their message is," Gracey added. "They can drive around. They can abide by social distancing and not have to be concerned with that and still get their voices heard."


Host Martha MacCallum pointed out to Gracey that medical models show that Oklahoma has yet to hit its peak. As of Monday, the state had reported 2,680 confirmed cases and 143 deaths.

Gracey said that while Oklahoma has not been hit as hard as other states, she is still concerned about the entire modeling equation.

"The president spoke about it in his press conference just before your program, that the models were very ... off to begin with, by predicting up to 2.2 million deaths across America," she said. "We are not seeing those numbers. It's unfortunate the deaths we are seeing and we're sad for those across the country, but we really don't believe that we have a peak to reach yet.

"We think we have seen numbers that are showing that we are going down in Oklahoma and we are confident that we can get back to work here and as soon as May 1st, the original goal," Gracey added."


Earlier Monday Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt announced that elective surgeries could resume on Friday, while "minor medical procedures and non-emergency dental procedures" could take place on April 30. A stay-at-home order in the state for vulnerable adults and those aged 65 and older is set to expire May 6.

"We want to see Oklahomans go back to work in May," Gracey maintained.

The CDC has put in place social distancing guidelines for the nation to follow in order to stop the spread of the virus.Officials urge people to stay at least six feet from other people, not to gather in groups, stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.