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Man with megaphone jumps on Costco clothing table to voice outrage over masks

In Tustin, CA at a local Costco on Sunday an anti-mask protester jumped on top of a display and went on a megaphone rant voicing his outrage, while fist-bumping shoppers. Others shouted at him to get lost. He was the center of attention in the store for a short period of time and it is far from the first time something like this has happened during the pandemic.

“If masks really work, why is it still a problem?” he yelled into the megaphone, as seen on Twitter. “Because the masks don’t do anything. It is just the flu. We’ve already been exposed to it, folks.”

“Where are the people with the flu this season? Where are they? They’re getting told they have COVID,” he said. “Anybody who dies from COVID would have died from the regular flu.”

“We have got to stand up for ourselves!” the man yelled.

“It’s a beautiful day outside and what are we doing, covering up with our masks,” he was heard shouting.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has previously outlined numerous differences between COVID-19 and the flu, but many believe the numbers do seem to be comingled and manipulated when considering this time of year is typically considered flu season. The CDC contends that COVID-19 is a much more serious illness and remains contagious for much longer. This claim is still being contested and seems to be ever-changing. There are also conflicting medical opinions on whether masks are effective in preventing the contraction of the disease.

The man claimed that 70,000 people die “every year” from the flu, though the CDC’s records show only 22,000 flu deaths in the U.S. during the 2019-2020 flu season and 34,000 in 2018-2019. There were 64,000 flu deaths estimated in the 2017-2018 season, although that was the highest number recorded in several years. In 2011-2012, there were only 12,000 estimated flu deaths in the country.

The protester also went after California Gov. Newsom and criticized him for the state’s latest lockdown measures.

Costco employees were seen directing customers away from the man as he continued to rant. It is unknown if he was an actual member or if he was forcibly removed.

For frontline workers facing the coronavirus every day, some say the messaging against taking research-backed precautions is a serious concern.

“I’ve gotten harassed for wearing a mask,” said Dr. Isabel Pedraza, the ICU Medical Director of Cedars-Sinai. “I’ve gotten, you have to sit there and listen on the news to people saying we are infringing on their constitutional rights and yeah, it’s incredibly demoralizing. I think that there isn’t anyone who does this that doesn’t feel demoralized by it. Our lives don’t matter, the patient’s lives don’t matter. It seems like this suffering is meaningless to some people, that’s what it feels like it – it doesn’t matter until it happens to them.”

Costco has recently updated its mask policy to require masks or face shields for everyone ages 2 and up. Members with medical conditions are now also required to wear a face shield.

The split among the shoppers in response to the protester highlights the divide in America currently over wearing masks, lockdowns, and reactions to the pandemic in general.

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