Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo criticized the protesters who rushed to state capitols last weekend to stop stay-at-home orders, meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Pompeo has been a vocal supporter of health care workers during the crisis. She suggested the protesters do not have the right to be helped by doctors and nurses if they get sick because they joined the protests.
"They didn't get the memo that this isn’t about them," Pompeo tweeted on April 18, alongside a link to a Los Angeles Times report on protests in Huntington Beach, California. "So if any of them get sick they should be fine with just going home and staying home caring for themselves. You don't have the right to ask for help from people you didn’t care about when you were waving your flag."
While the far-right protests gained significant media attention, polls show the majority of Americans support stay-at-home orders. On Wednesday, a new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that just 12% of Americans believe the measures where they live go too far. About twice as many believe the limits are not going far enough, while 61% believe the measures their local governments have taken are about right.
The poll also showed bipartisan support, with 59% of Republicans polled believing the new policies are about right, and 62% of Democrats believing the same. However, only 5% of Democrats believe their governments have gone too far, but 22% of Republicans believe they have. Only 36% of Republicans are strongly in favor of requiring Americans to stay home during the pandemic, a 15% drop from late March. The poll was conducted from April 16 to 20, with 1,057 adults responding.
Another poll, conducted by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal earlier this week and conducted last week, found that almost 60 percent of American voters are worried that relaxing stay-at-home orders could lead to more deaths from COVID-19. There are now 856,209 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., reports Johns Hopkins University. More than 47,000 deaths have been reported as of Thursday afternoon.
Following Pompeo's comments on the protests, she also criticized television doctors Dr. Phil McGraw and Dr. Mehmet Oz for their controversial comments on Fox News programs last week. Oz and McGraw's comments appeared to downplay the impact of the coronavirus, and they later both clarified their comments. "They have been so busy in their dressing rooms getting their faces powdered and worrying about their ratings ...they have no idea what doctors and healthcare professionals on the front lines actually do or they just don't care," Pompeo wrote in one tweet.