Her name was Skylar Herbert, a 5-year-old Black girl from Michigan and the daughter of first responders. She developed a rare type of meningitis and brain swelling after testing positive for COVID-19 and died Sunday in the state’s first confirmed case of a child dying of the virus, according to The Detroit News. In her final days, as she fought for her life, it was not her name or face that adorned the posters protesters held on the steps of the state capitol in Lansing Wednesday. No, armed with rifles, they instead held “LivE Free or DIE” and “END THE LOCKDOWN” signs, because this group of gun rights and far-right agitators had rallied in support of only themselves.
They were trying to pressure Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer into overturning her stay-at-home order in the state because even though more than 2,465 people have died of the coronavirus in Michigan, apparently money still has to be made and guns still have to be purchased. “OUR Governor IS DESTROYING OUR HEALTH BY KILLING OUR LIVELIHOODS,” GOP state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said in a Facebook post. Members of Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine, a group that has amassed more than 365,990 members on Facebook, complained about being “really tired of being grounded.” And as sure as far-right selfishness persists, the Michigan agitators aren’t the only ones taking on restoring the economy instead of saving human lives.
Sign and send the petition to your governor: Public health experts—NOT political pressure—must determine when we ease social distancing & lift safety restrictions.
Facebook groups protesting quarantine orders have targeted members in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, all seemingly under the leadership of Minnesota Gun Rights political director Ben Dorr, according to The Washington Post. An anti-quarantine protest in Pennsylvania attracted about 2,000 people Monday, USA Today reported. "Unfortunately, some people have lost their lives to the virus," state GOP Rep. Aaron Bernstine said at the protest. "My heart goes out to every one of those people. But my heart also goes out to the 1.5 million people in Pennsylvania out of work."
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Having actually lost a child to the pandemic, LaVondria Herbert, a Detroit police officer for 25 years, came down on the side of saving lives in her interview with The Detroit News. She and Detroit firefighter Ebbie Herbert, both Skylar’s parents, watched their child die after multiple trips to area hospitals.
Skylar’s initial symptoms didn't even point to the coronavirus, they told The Detroit News. She tested positive for strep at her pediatrician’s office. However, she had a persistent headache and mild fever that the antibiotics she was given for strep didn’t remedy, her mother told the newspaper. When the child cried all night in pain, her parents took Skylar to the emergency room, The Detroit News reported. She tested positive for COVID-19 and was released a day later.
"We went back to emergency at the Beaumont Hospital’s Farmington campus because I noticed my husband was coughing and having shortness of breath," LaVondria told the newspaper. "Me and Skylar waited in the car, but out of nowhere, Skylar began complaining about her head hurting again and then she just threw up." She was shivering with a temperature of about 100 degrees and started seizing just before her father returned from the emergency room, LaVondria told The Detroit News. "(I told her) Skylar, look at your daddy, Skylar, look at your daddy," Ebbie said. "She came out of the seizure and me and her mother ran back into the emergency room."
The couple learned their daughter had meningitis when she was transferred to another campus, and she died after spending two weeks on a ventilator, according to The Detroit News. “I want to say thank you to the governor for making people go home,” LaVondria told the newspaper.
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