Two small groups of protesters held dueling rallies in front of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s Swampscott home Thursday over how he is handling the coronavirus crisis.
About 25 people, many carrying Trump 2020 signs and flags, wanted restrictions lifted so businesses can start back up and people can go back to work. Roughly the same number of demonstrators showed up to support the governor's efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, which has killed 2,360 people in the state as of Thursday.
One of them, Andres Abraham, said that unemployment is skyrocketing and that is a bigger threat than the virus.
“We’re gonna have far bigger problems in this country when we see the unemployment numbers that just came out," he said. "This is madness. We’re committing collective suicide.”
The U.S. Labor Dept reported Thursday that 4.4 million people applied for jobless benefits the week ending April 18, putting the
The two groups had a spirited but cordial debate, with Baker supporters saying his restrictions led to a milder surge in cases than expected. His detractors countered that might be true but there is no evidence for it.
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"l have compassion for people that aren’t essential workers and are out of work right now, and I know it’s very challenging time for a lot of people," Baker supporter Alice Senko said. "I think we have to trust that the government is doing the best that they can to protect everyone."
A recent poll by AP-NORC found that only 12% of Americans believe restrictions to contain the coronavirus are excessive. Just over 60% said they believe the rules are necessary or “about right.”