Police ordered the crowd to go home.
Footage emerged Sunday night of New Orleans police ordering the public to disperse from a crowded street, instructing them to go home in order to prevent spread of the Chinese coronavirus.
The footage is a dire reminder of the disease’s seriousness. The police had arrived to bust up a large gathering of people celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day on Magazine Street, despite a prohibition on large gatherings by the city.
The police announced that large gatherings of people were prohibited in New Orleans by the city’s mayor, over megaphones to crowds that appeared to have surfaced to engage in merriment as if everything were normal.
“Large groups of people are prohibited from congregating together. Your actions are jeopardizing public health, and we are directing you to clear the streets, and to go home or back to your hotel.”
New Orleans doesn’t appear to be the only major American city struggling to prevent people from engaging in coordinated group events in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. New York’s bars and clubs are purported to be full and active, despite an even more serious presence of the disease in the city.
Ohio and Illinois even have gone so far as to order the closing of all restaurants in the states, a relatively unprecedented disruption to everyday American life.
However, things could be worse. If the American public fails to practice social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus, the nation could soon find itself in a situation akin to that of Italy- where police have taken the even more haunting move of ordering citizens already inside to remain in their homes from megaphones on police cruisers.