OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday that President Donald Trump’s comments about “liberating” parts of the country from coronavirus stay-at-home orders put millions of Americans at risk of contracting COVID-19.
Trump on Friday via Twitter encouraged demonstrators in the Democratic states of Michigan, Virginia and Minnesota to protest social-distancing rules that experts say can help slow the spread of the virus. Inslee, a Democrat, said in a statement that Trump is encouraging “illegal and dangerous acts.”
“His unhinged rantings and calls for people to ‘liberate’ states could also lead to violence. We’ve seen it before,” Inslee said. “The president is fomenting domestic rebellion and spreading lies even while his own administration says the virus is real and is deadly.”
Washington state saw the nation’s first confirmed coronavirus case in January, as well as the first deadly cluster at a Seattle-area nursing home.
More than 11,150 people in Washington state have tested positive for the virus and more than 580 have died.
The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms in most patients, and the vast majority recover. But it is highly contagious and can be spread by those who appear healthy and can cause severe illness and death in some patients, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.