MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Some residents feel their constitutional rights are being violated by new health and safety protocols and have a rally planned to protest. Health experts say such an event could be dangerous.
It’s been more than a month since social distancing was suggested in Shelby County and weeks since local officials announced a stay-at-home order.
Millions of Americans are sharing the same feelings: restless, bored and frustrated at home, and apart from the connections and jobs that they know best.
One group, calling itself “Free TN,” plans to stage a protest in Memphis on Sunday.
Local health professionals are concerned with the idea.
“It’s not a good idea to have large gatherings,” said Dr. Manoj Jain, infectious disease specialist at Baptist Hospital. “And the reason is, those will lead to a widespread of infection.”
With a protest–dozens of people coming together in a public, close space–the disease could spread through asymptomatic carriers.
Social distancing has been effective in reducing COVID-19 transmission, but the pandemic could get worse if residents gather too early.
“If we let our foot off the pedal, then what’s going to happen is again, a huge number of cases will start coming into our hospitals,” Jain said.
“I do trust the process that we’ve set up to get to answers,” said Mayor Jim Strickland. “Like I’ve done the entire pandemic, I’m going to listen to what the doctor orders.”
WREG couldn’t find a government leader or health professional that wanted to silence anyone who disagreed with COVID-19 safety recommendations, but they hope the greater good will be considered.
“That’s perfectly fine, and that’s very appropriate,” Jain said. “But getting together physically is not a good idea at present.”
WREG reached out to those who planned the rally, but have not heard back.