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Small protests popping up around the country against shelter-in-place orders that were imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic are dangerous. The protesters are calling for conduct that would inevitably result in in more deaths and more hospitalizations from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus. 

In the Los Angeles area where I live, a news photo of a woman carrying a sign that read “Give me liberty or give me death” in one such protest went viral. She was standing outside a Baskin Robbins ice cream store open for take-out orders.

Seriously? Being able to eat an ice cream cone inside the store is worth dying for?


Some protesters have blocked traffic outside hospitals, determined to keep dedicated medical professionals from getting to work to treat and save the lives of others, and to keep patients from getting to the hospitals.

This is crazy. There can never be any justification for obstructing medical care like this.

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Another photo that has gone viral shows a man in turquoise medical scrubs with an N95 respirator mask courageously standing in the middle of the road in front of a car attempting to block traffic in a protest outside a hospital in Denver.

The image clearly captures both the frustration and the divide among those working on the front lines to handle the devastation the coronavirus has brought upon us and save lives – versus protesters who desperately want society reopened despite the pandemic.

As the wife of a doctor, I’m angered by protesters yelling at anyone wearing scrubs. Doctors took an oath to “do no harm.” Nurses and other medical professionals are working just as hard to restore the health of COVID-19 patients and every patient entering their hospitals.

All these medical professionals and other hospital employees risk getting infected with the coronavirus and possibly dying every time they walk through the hospital doors. But they keep doing it, day after day, putting the welfare of patients ahead of their own safety.  

These brave and selfless men and women didn’t create the coronavirus. They didn’t issue stay-at-home orders. Whether they are Democrats, Republicans or independents is irrelevant. Yet some people demonstrate against them and try to stop them from saving lives!

Obviously, no one in their right mind likes being told by government leaders to stay home, not go to work, not send their children to school – and venture out only to buy food or medicine, get medical treatment, or perform an essential job such as health care.

On top of this, many small-business owners and their employees – such as restaurant owners and workers – are suffering grievous financial losses and can’t come up with money to pay their bills and feed their families. It’s understandable that these people want to turn back the clock a few weeks and get rid of all the restrictions imposed on us since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. with full force.

But the temporary shutdown of many businesses, schools and other locations in the face of the coronavirus is needed because it is, quite literally, a matter of life and death.

And even if protesters are willing to risk their own lives to reopen everything that has been shut down, they have no right to risk the lives of others – including their spouses, children and parents –  and flood hospitals with even more COVID-19 patients.

Yet the anger over the restrictions imposed to fight the coronavirus seems to be growing every day as protests spread – including some organized by right-wing groups that support President Trump. And some of the protesters are crowding together without masks, much closer than six feet apart, potentially spreading COVID-19 to each other and worsening the pandemic that is the cause of their protests.

Many people in other countries are shocked at the protests in the U.S. and can’t understand why Americans are angry about medically effective measure to protect them and their families from an illness that might kill them. One British newspaper headline read “Only in America.”


As I write this, the confirmed death toll from COVID-19 in the U.S. is nearly 52,000 people. Undoubtedly, more people have actually died from the disease because so few Americans have been tested. And more people keep dying and keep getting sick with this new disease every day.

Each of these lost lives is a tragedy. Those who have died have left behind wives, husbands, sons, daughters, other relatives, friends and colleagues who now mourn them. The medical professionals who tried valiantly to save their lives also mourn.

We all want to reopen America and return to normal as soon as we safely can. Some of the smartest people in the world are working as speedily and intensely as possible to find a vaccine and effective treatment for COVID-19 – and at some point they will succeed.  The sooner the better.


The inevitable easing of restrictions on where we can go and what can reopen must be based primarily on public health considerations – not political considerations, arbitrary dates, or the unreasonable demands of sign-carrying protesters.

We must stem the tide of economic harm our country and the American people are suffering, but the best way to do that is to first reduce the terrible toll of hospitalizations and deaths the coronavirus is causing.