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‘Heil, Pritzker’: Right-wing anti-quarantine protestors in Illinois carry Nazi signs against the Jewish governor

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Governor JB Pritzker Protester Dennis Kosuth @Dennis_Kosuth

Amongst the hundreds of Friday afternoon protestors opposing the extension of Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order were two with anti-Semitic ones: one sign read, “Heil, Pritzker” with a large swastika next to it, and another read, “Arbeit Macht Frei,” the German phrase for “Work Makes You Free,” which appeared over the entrance to Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps.

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These signs were all the more ominous seeing as Pritzker is Jewish.

Considering the far-right’s interest in white supremacy and nationalism, it’s not really surprising to see far-right protestors embracing Nazi slogans and symbols. Nor is it surprising to hear that yesterday’s protestors outside of the state’s capitol building in Springfield largely disregarded facial masks and social distancing guidelines meant to slow the spread of coronavirus.

That’s all the more troubling when you realize that Illinois is the fourth U.S. state with the highest number of coronavirus cases (56,055) and deaths (2,457). The state had its highest number of new cases (3,137) on Friday, the same day the protest occurred.

Jackie Fletcher, the woman holding the swastika sign, told her local NBC news affiliate that she had “Re-Open Illinois” written on the other side of her sign because “some people get touchy about swastikas.”

“I’m here to protest the loss of our rights,” she continued. “We’re protesting for our First Amendment and other things. Our speech isn’t really being prohibited, but our freedom is. We’re unable to leave the house and have to wear a mask.”

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Yes, you know those Nazis and their love of facial masks and making people stay at home for public health reasons: apples to apples.

The Nazi signs are just the latest escalation in right-wing anti-quarantine protests. On Thursday, armed Michigan right-wing extremists carrying firearms took over the Michigan Statehouse in an armed occupation that largely lacked face masks and social distancing as well.

There are many reasons to want to re-open state businesses despite the pandemic. Recognizing the ongoing epidemic’s economic devastation, Democratic and Republican governors alike have begun gradual re-openings of their states. But the protestors are overwhelmingly white and the Nazi symbols and firearms carry violent overtones meant to warn any “outsiders” who oppose their desire to “go back to normal” as quickly as possible, even if it kills us.

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Florida to investigate all COVID-19 deaths after questions about ‘integrity’ of data

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida, which has reported the deaths of more than 16,400 people from COVID-19, now says the public may not be able to trust any of those numbers.The state Department of Health on Wednesday ordered an investigation of all pandemic fatalities, one week after House Speaker Jose Oliva slammed the death data from medical examiners as “often lacking in rigor” and undermining “the completeness and reliability of the death records.”House Democrats then blasted the House Republicans’ report as an insult to coronavirus victims and an attempt “to downplay the death toll.”The pol... (more…)

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Suicides never actually went up under COVID-19 as Trump suggested: report

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President Donald Trump has spent the better part of the past several months justifying the reopening despite the COVID-19 pandemic by saying that people are dying whether it was from the coronavirus or something else.

“I mean, we have never closed the country before, and we have had some pretty bad flus, and we have had some pretty bad viruses" Trump said at a Fox News town hall in March. “You’re going to have suicides by the thousands.”

“People get tremendous anxiety and depression, and you have suicides over things like this when you have terrible economies. You have death," he said at a press briefing that same month. "Probably and — I mean, definitely — would be in far greater numbers than the numbers that we’re talking about with regard to the virus.”

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Volunteer in Oxford COVID-19 vaccine test dies in Brazil: officials

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A volunteer participating in clinical trials of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University has died in Brazil, officials said Wednesday, though it was unclear whether he received the vaccine or a placebo.

It is the first death reported in the various coronavirus vaccine trials taking place worldwide.

However, organizers of the study said an independent review had concluded there were no safety concerns and that testing of the vaccine, developed with pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, would continue.

Media reports said the volunteer was a 28-year-old doctor working on the front lines of the pandemic who died of complications from Covid-19.

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