MSNBC host Katy Tur did not mince words on Monday when reacting to anti-stay-at-home protesters claiming the deadly novel coronavirus is no more contagious than the flu. Such comments are “dumb,” the daytime news anchor repeatedly pointed out.
Reporting from an anti-quarantine protest in Arizona, NBC News reporter Vaughn Hillyard told Tur that the demonstrators he spoke with—most of whom did not wear masks or gloves—expressed frustration with the governor and many within the Trump administration, “but not with Donald Trump.” (The president has repeatedly defended and encouraged the protests.)
He went on to highlight one woman who brought her four children to the rally, noting that while she said she was frustrated that schools she relied on for assistance for two of her special-needs kids were closed due to the pandemic, the woman also just did not believe the virus is actually bad.
“She said she does not believe these numbers that are coming out of New York,” Hillyard stated. “Does not believe that the rate of contagion is any more than the flu. A lot of the theories that are pushed by the president of the United States.”
Hillyard also reported that the event’s organizer said that “there needs to be a serious look within the administration towards” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert who has pushed for robust social-distancing guidelines.
“Well, Vaughn, that is just plain dumb, frankly,” Tur bluntly reacted. “It’s just plain dumb.”
Turning to pediatrician and public-health activist Dr. Irwin Redlener, the MSNBC host continued to blast the remarks made by the protesters.
“It’s just dumb. It’s just dumb to call it the flu,” she exclaimed. “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. 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 would go on to say that while she hated giving these recent protests any attention “because they are so small,” their message has been amplified on social media and “by the president of the United States who tweets things like ‘Liberate Virginia’ and ‘Liberate Michigan.’”
“They’re not just putting themselves in danger,” she concluded. “They’re putting everybody around them in danger. 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.”
The protests against shelter-in-place orders—which have received widespread coverage and promotion on Fox News and elsewhere in conservative media—have been boosted on Facebook by far-right, pro-gun activist groups. The social-media titan, meanwhile, has warned that groups organizing protests will be banned from the platform if they don’t adhere to social-distancing guidelines.