Updated May 15, 2020 - Health

In photos: Groups protest coronavirus lockdowns across the U.S.

In this image, a large crowd of people hold flags and signs
Protesters call for North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) to reopen the state on May 12. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Protests continued on Thursday against Michigan's stay-at-home order, alongside similar protests in suburban New York and Washington, D.C. Other demonstrations were held this week in North Carolina and Rhode Island.

Why it matters: Leading coronavirus modeling shows the country's collective sacrifice of an economic shutdown — which has resulted in over 30 million jobless claims — has likely prevented hundreds of thousands of deaths, serving as a sign that social distancing is effective.

The big picture: Protests to reopen economies have been held across the U.S. over the last few months as the number of coronavirus cases and fatalities continues to rise. COVID-19 has infected more than 1.4 million people and killed over 85,000 in the U.S., per Johns Hopkins data.

What they're saying: President Trump fueled reopening protests in Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia on April 17 in tweets, urging people to "LIBERATE" the states.

  • He defended activists again at an April 19 news briefing, saying they "have got cabin fever" from having their lives "taken away from them." But in a rare rebuke of a Republican, Trump said he "strongly" disagrees with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's plans to reopen non-essential businesses.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned after protests in Albany there could be a potential "second wave" if restrictions were eased too soon and suggested people who want to work "get a job as an essential worker."

Of note: Facebook said Monday the company deleted events for anti-quarantine protests in Nebraska, New Jersey and California that defied government guidelines.

The bottom line: The U.S. cannot afford to stay on lockdown until a cure or vaccine arrives. Safely reopening communities and economies requires data that is currently difficult to find.

In this image, two people carry assault rifles and american flags with a crowd of people holding umbrellas standing behind them
Armed demonstrators in Lansing, Michigan on May 14. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images
In this image, a group of people stand outside
Members of the media outnumber demonstrators at the ReOpen DC rally on May 14. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
In this image, a large crowd walking down the middle of a street follows a police escort of three motorcycles
Protesters call for North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) to reopen the state on May 12. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
In this image, a large crowd stands in Michigan's state house
Protestors try to enter the Michigan House of Representative chamber on April 30. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images
In this image, three men stand with guns
Armed protesters at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing on April 30. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images
Protesters from a grassroots organization called REOPEN NC gather for pressure North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper to reopen the State in Raleigh, NC
Protesters from a grassroots organization called Reopen N.C. gather to pressure North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to reopen the state on April 28. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Protestors outside the Louisiana Governor's Mansion on April 25 in Baton Rouge.
Protestors outside the Louisiana Governor's Mansion on April 25 in Baton Rouge. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images
In this image, men wear face masks and sunglasses and stand outside.
Protestors outside the Freedom Tower in Miami, Florida on April 25. Photo: Adam DelGiudice/AFP via Getty Images
In this image, three signs are held by protestors: one reads "Make Florida open again" another reads "reopen all of florida now" and another reads "don't tread on me"
Protestors outside the Freedom Tower in Miami, Florida on April 25. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
In this image, a crowd of protestors stand in a street outside
Protestors outside the Texas State Capitol on April 25. Photo: Gary Miller/Getty Images
In this image, protestors hold signs
Protestors outside the Texas State Capitol on April 25. Photo: Gary Miller/Getty Images
In this image, a man holds a cardboard sign that reads "reopen louisiana" and a megaphone
Protestors outside the Louisiana Governor's Mansion on April 25 in Baton Rouge. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images
In this image, a woman holds a sign of Trump's face
Protestors outside the Louisiana Governor's Mansion on April 25 in Baton Rouge. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Demonstrators gather in front of the Colorado State Capitol building for a "reopen Colorado" rally in Denver on April 19.
Demonstrators gather in front of the Colorado State Capitol building for a "reopen Colorado" rally on April 19. Photo: Jason Connolly/AFP via Getty Images
Demonstrators hold signs outside of the New York State Capitol Building on April 22, 2020 in Albany, New York
Demonstrators hold signs outside of the New York State Capitol Building on April 22 in Albany, New York. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images
People take part in a "reopen" Pennsylvania demonstration in Harrisburg on April 20.
People take part in a "reopen" Pennsylvania demonstration in Harrisburg on April 20. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images
Hundreds of protesters demonstrate outside the state Capitol to speak out against against Governor Inslee's stay home order to battle the novel coronavirus
Some 2,500 people demonstrate outside the state Capitol to speak out against against Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's stay-at-home order on April 19. Photo: Alex Milan Tracy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Protesters gather outside Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb's mansion
Protesters gather outside the Indiana governor's mansion. Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
New Hampshire residents rally at the State House in Concord on April 18, calling on the government to re-open the state for business.
New Hampshire residents rally at the State House in Concord on April 18, calling on the government to re-open the state for business. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images
In this image, a woman holds a sign that reads "Welcome to the United States of Pharma where Federalism isn't Free"
Jessica Lilly, right, with her children aged 7 and 4, join a crowd gathered at the corner of Main Street and Walnut Avenue in Huntington Beach, Calif., to protest state closures on April 17. Photo: Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images
In this image, a woman holds a sign that reads "Defy facist lockdown"
Sarah Mason joins a crowd at Huntington Beach, Calif., to protest state closures on April 17. Photo: Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images
In this image, a line of police officers stand outside wearing face masks
Police officers watch the crowd at Huntington Beach, Calif. as they protest state closures on April 17. Photo: Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images
In this image, a crowd of people stands outside. One flag says Trump 2020 and one sign says "COVID-19 is a lie"
Protestors in Huntington Beach, Calif. protest state closures on April 17. Photo: Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images
In this image, a large crowd of people stands outside
Protesters yell in unison when Infowars' Alex Jones arrives for an April 18 protest at the State Capitol in Austin, Texas. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images
In this image, a woman holds a sign that reads "My body my choice" with a drawing of a face mask crossed out
A protestor in Austin, Texas on April 18. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images
In this image, a woman speaks into a microphone while a sign behind her reads "Open texas now"
Protesters at the Texas State Capital on April 18 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images
In this image, a woman holds a sign that reads "earning a living is essential" and a man holds a sign that reads "i want my job back"
Hundreds of New Hampshire residents rally at the State House in Concord on April 18, calling on the government to re-open the state. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images
In this image, a masked and armed man walks past a sign that reads "Fear trumps the commie virus"
Hundreds of New Hampshire residents rally at the State House in Concord on April 18, calling on the government to reopen the state. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images
In this image, a person holds a sign that reads "free people make their own risk assessments"
Hundreds of New Hampshire residents rally at the State House in Concord on April 18, calling on the government to re-open the state. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images
Protesters demonstrate outside the Orange County Administration Building demanding the end of stay-at-home orders and the reopening of Florida businesses
Protesters outside the Orange County Administration Building demanding the end of stay-at-home orders and the reopening of Florida businesses on April 17. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Demonstrators protest during a "Reopen Maryland" rally outside the State House in Annapolis, Maryland
A "Reopen Maryland" rally outside the State House in Annapolis, Maryland on April 18. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Go deeper: Michigan protesters rally over Gov. Whitmer's stay-at-home order

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to reflect that more than 61,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus (not 217,000).

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