Anti-maskers in Idaho held a public burning ceremony on Saturday and had their kids join in by tossing their own personal protective equipment (PPE) into the flames.
The Washington Post estimated that some 100 people gathered outside the state’s Capitol in Boise for the mask-burning.
“Here fire, you hungry?” a child asked in one of the videos circulating on Twitter. “Here’s another mask.”
Idaho does not have a statewide mask mandate for the coronavirus pandemic, but some communities within the state have put mandates into place and Gov. Brad Little (R) has encouraged people to wear them. He tweeted in support of masks just last week:
That message was not well-received by some on the right.
“Certain health districts are mandating or certain towns are mandating wearing masks and we just don’t have the numbers here,” Darr Moon, husband of state Rep. Dorothy Moon (R) and a point person for the protest, told NBC News. “The COVID numbers are very low. We’ve flattened the curve a long time ago and people want to go back to work. They want to have a normal life.”
Idaho’s hospitalizations and deaths have dropped in recent weeks as has happened in much of the country following the winter surge. However, The New York Times reported that cases were up 8 percent in the state over the past two weeks. And according to the Idaho Statesman, the state has had more than 172,000 cases so far, including more than 1,800 deaths from the COVID-19 infection.
Twitter users were stunned, not just about the mask-burning, but that the protesters dragged children into the proceedings:
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