Two Colorado health care workers on the front lines of the battle against the coronavirus took their fight to the streets in an attempt to block anti-lockdown protesters in cars gathered near the state capitol.
Widely circulated photos appearing to show the workers counter-protesting the "ReOpen Colorado" rally in Denver were taken by photojournalist Alyson McLaran.
In them, a man and a woman wearing scrubs and face masks stand face-to-face with vehicles whose occupants were among hundreds calling for the state to lift mandatory business closures and stay-at-home orders. One woman appears to be leaning out the passenger side window with a sign that said "Land of the Free."
Later, a video of the same woman appeared on Twitter and also went viral. "This is a free country," she can be heard shouting at the health care worker in the video. "Land of the free. Go to China if you want communism."
Protests against mandatory lockdowns have popped up in several states around the country in the last week, despite guidance from the Centers for Disease Control to maintain social distancing until at least May 1 to stop the spread of the disease.
President Donald Trump encouraged the protests on Twitter after saying in his briefing last week that governors would lead the decision to reopen their states. In the U.S., the number of confirmed cases topped 700,000, with 37,000 deaths as of Monday afternoon.
The CDC maintains that limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19.