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Drive-through protest around L.A. City Hall calls for California to reopen economy

A group of protesters including Alma Villanueva, left, and Gigi Wilcox, were part of a vehicle caravan Wednesday in downtown Los Angeles calling on state and local officials to reopen the economy.
A group of protesters including Alma Villanueva, left, and Gigi Wilcox, were part of a vehicle caravan Wednesday in downtown Los Angeles calling on state and local officials to reopen the economy.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

A group of protesters on Wednesday carried out a drive-through protest in downtown Los Angeles against California’s stay-at-home order, which has slowed the spread of the coronavirus.

They drove around City Hall, honking and waving signs reading “Open Cali Now” and “Freedom is Contagious.” Some also held signs supporting President Trump.

It’s the latest of several protests across the country, which come as both local and national polls show wide support for the social distancing rules.

Over the last few days, there have been protests in San Diego, Newport Beach, Sacramento, Huntington Beach and San Clemente.

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Protestors in downtown Los Angeles want the economy to reopen.

Protestors in downtown Los Angeles want the economy to reopen.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)

Demonstrators have said it’s time to reopen the economy and ease the rules. But many medical experts and officials in California have said there are grave dangers to reopening businesses too early.

A new Associated Press poll found an overwhelming majority of Americans support the stay-at-home orders, seeing them as helping combat coronavirus.

Maya Cruz with Revolution Club LA blocks a car taking part in the protest to reopen the economy along Spring Street in Los Angeles.

Maya Cruz with Revolution Club LA blocks a car taking part in the protest to reopen the economy along Spring Street in Los Angeles.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)

Recent national and local polls found that a vast majority of Americans showed support for stay-at-home orders. A poll of 1,990 voters conducted by Politico/Morning Consult showed that 81% supported continuing social distancing for as long as needed. Only 10% supported ending social distancing to stimulate the economy.

A poll of 2,000 Los Angeles residents released last week by Loyola Marymount University found that 95% of respondents were in support of officials’ decision to implement a stay-at-home-order.

During the protest, Los Angeles County health officials announced an additional 66 COVID-19 deaths Wednesday, bringing the total number to 729 since the outbreak began.

Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, also confirmed 1,318 new COVID-19 cases — pushing the cumulative total to 16,435.

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The latest victims include 48 people who were over the age of 65, 13 people who were 41 to 65 years old and two people who were anywhere from 18 to 40. Ages were not available for the other three.

Of all those who have died from coronavirus infection in the county, 88% had some kind of underlying health condition, according to Ferrer.

“This underscores the need for all of us to do the best job possible to make sure people who have serious health conditions are able to stay home and stay safe,” she said.

As of Wednesday, there were 1,791 COVID-19 patients hospitalized countywide — with 30% of them in intensive care and 19% on ventilators, according to Ferrer.


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