The unmasked individuals, who claimed it is their choice whether or not to wear a mask and said they should not be judged for it, not only criticized those wearing masks but harassed them. “Where is your fucking gloves if you believe there is a virus,” a protester yelled in one of the videos. It seems to those who deem the virus as a hoax, the freedom to do as they choose and decide whether or not to wear a mask, only applies to their own supporters.
Anti-maskers in Los Angeles County not only refused to wear masks comparing the U.S. to China, but insisted that testing negative for COVID-19 meant they didn’t need one. “I tested negative [for COVID-19], so what are you worried about? Mask Nazi. There are Nazis here,” a man with a mask pulled down said in another video.
But despite these anti-maskers believing testing negative gives them a free pass to not wear a mask, under California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus mandate all residents above the age of two across the state must wear masks when in public. Additionally, as The New York Times noted, testing negative doesn’t necessarily mean that one is not infected by or not carrying the virus.
Stores that remained open weren’t the only ones facing violence at the hands of protesters, those that had closed their doors as a result of the protests saw protesters banging and violently trying to force their way in. Several verbal altercations took place during these Sunday protests. One particularly notable incident included an exchange between a woman who said she was a doctor and anti-masker in the mall. The woman shouted that her “father is in the hospital with COVID,” to which the anti-masker coldly replied: “People die. That’s life. Your father’s not special.”
While Los Angeles police officers were present to “keep the peace,” no arrests were made according to the Los Angeles Times. The protests follow not only demonstrations that occurred last week during which maskless protesters demanded Los Angeles reopen but after Los Angeles County reported a 50% increase in COVID-19 cases within the last month.
As California faces a deadly surge of the coronavirus, Daily Kos reported that medical emergency vehicles are facing difficulties in responding as more residents require hospitalizations in the area. “The current surge of patients … it’s kind of a hidden disaster,” Cathy Chidester, director of the county Emergency Medical Services agency, said. “It’s not a fire. It’s not an earthquake. It’s not a train wreck that’s right in the public view and they can see what is happening and they can avoid that area. It’s all happening behind the doors of households and hospitals.”
The pandemic is real and deadly and the U.S. is facing an extreme health crisis. Anti-maskers since the start of this pandemic have not taken this seriously and it seems that no increase of COVID-19 deaths will make a difference.