A photo of angry protestors swarming the Ohio Statehouse has gone viral. The image, which was taken from inside the location, appeared in The Columbus Dispatch on Monday. It shows several right-wing protestors gathered to protest the current social distancing guidelines. The protesters, along with several Republican lawmakers in the state, have been urging Gov. Mike DeWine to start urging restrictions in the state as early as May.
As is often the case with viral images, there was some dispute over the photo's authenticity. However, the fact-checking website Truth or Fiction determined the photo was taken by Columbus-based photojournalist Joshua Bickel. The protestors pictured were advocating that Ohio no longer be subject to social distancing guidelines, which are still in place throughout the U.S. While the practice has been deemed necessary by medical experts, it has led to several businesses closing and millions of people filing for unemployment.
Senator Andrew Brenner addressed the concerns in a lengthy Facebook post on Saturday, where he claimed that COVID-19 cases in Ohio had "flattened out." He went on to ask, "Isn't that what our goal was?"
"The real threat might not be over for the next year or two," Brenner continued. "We need to get the economy open, even if that means social distancing of some sort for months to come. We can't stay like this much longer, and the hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who've lost their jobs or the thousands of small business owners can't keep doing this either, or their lives will be irreparably destroyed."
It was also reported on Wednesday that the government's $349 billion fund aimed at helping small businesses, and part of its larger $2 trillion relief bill, had nearly run out of allocated funds mere days after its creation. In addition, the federal government has started to roll out its $2 trillion stimulus plan, which includes $1200 for every adult who filed taxes in 2018. While some accounts have already received the deposit directly, the IRS website crashed due to the influx of users trying to track their payments. The paper checks have been additionally delayed due to President Donald Trump's request to have them include his signature.
Trump has also hinted at a second round of stimulus payments to further aid the economy along. "We could very well do a second round," he said on April 6. "It is absolutely under serious consideration."