MSNBC host Katy Tur blasted comments from Arizona protesters calling for an end to stay-at-home orders on Monday, labeling a series of claims from demonstrators downplaying the risks of the coronavirus as “just plain dumb” and a danger to public health.
NBC News journalist Vaughn Hillyard told Tur that people at the Phoenix rally expressed frustrations with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R), as well as with President Donald Trump’s administration, “but not with Donald Trump.”
Hillyard said he spoke with one woman who wanted to lift restrictions because she relied on schools’ services to assist her two children with special needs, however, she also “does not believe” the numbers coming from the U.S. epicenter of the outbreak in New York.
″She does not believe the rate of contagion is any more than the flu ― a lot of these theories that are pushed by the president of the United States.”
Hillyard also reported that the event’s organizer was pushing for “a serious look within the administration” into two leading medical experts on the coronavirus task force ― Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator ― whom he claimed were part of an effort to incite fear.
“Well Vaughn, that is just plain dumb, frankly. It’s just plain dumb,” Tur responded. “I don’t think any of us would be standing on street corners wearing masks if it was just the flu.”
“Also, the flu has a vaccine,” she added. “This does not have a vaccine. The flu is not as contagious as this seems to be, according to everybody that has experienced it.”
Tur added that she hated giving attention to these protests, given the small turnouts, but she recognized that the dangerous message is amplified on social media and by the president. Trump encouraged similar protests in other states, despite the protesters’ demands to “open up now” undermining his own administration’s guidance for gradually reviving the economy.
“They’re not just putting themselves in danger, they’re putting everybody around them in danger,” Tur added. “Everybody at a grocery store they might go to. Their family members still at home. Their friends, their loved ones. It’s not just an individual problem.”
Arizona, where 5,068 cases of the virus have been recorded and 191 people have died, is under a stay-at-home order enforced from March 31 through to the end of the month. The protest in Phoenix is one of more than a dozen around the country in the past week that have brought together right-wing groups, including Trump supporters, pro-gun and anti-vaccine activists, calling for an end to the economic shutdown. Demonstrations have turned out anywhere from an estimated few hundred people to a few thousand.
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