Trump-backing AZ sheriff who wouldn’t enforce lockdown rules now infected by coronavirus

Sheriff who defied stay-at-home order tests positive for COVID-19 - at the White House

Screenshot / 12 News

An Arizona sheriff has tested positive for COVID-19, a day after visiting the White House. Sheriff Mark Lamb has openly defied the stay-at-home order and refused to issue fines for those violating the lockdown.

Lamb, who is asymptomatic, tested positive for the virus in the screening before his meeting with President Trump.

Lamb believes he contracted the disease from a campaign event on Saturday. He only discovered his positive status through the White House screening the following Tuesday. He will self-quarantine for the next 14 days, and the Pinal County Health Department will be tracing the people he may have been in contact with between Saturday and Tuesday.

Stay-at-home orders are a luxury

A girl looking out her window

Unsplash / Joshua Rawson Harris

The Sheriff believes it is his work as a “law enforcement official and elected leader” that led him to contract COVID-19. “We do not have the luxury of staying home,” he said.

“This line of work is inherently dangerous, and that is a risk we take when we sign up for the job. Today, that risk is the COVID-19 virus.”

He believed he came into contact with an infected carrier of COVID-19 at the campaign rally on Saturday.

300 deaths are not enough

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Screenshot / NPR

Sheriff Lamb has openly refused to enforce Governor Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order. The order required businesses to implement the use of masks where possible and keep customers and staff six feet apart.

Lamb spoke out against the lockdown order. He told The Arizona Republic, “Three hundred deaths is not a significant enough number to continue to ruin the economy.”

In Arizona, businesses that ignore the stay-at-home advice could be fined. Sheriff Lamb stated he would make no arrests but send deputies to issue warnings.

The Constitution trumps the stay-at-home order

Stylized photo of the Constitution


For Sheriff Lamb, when it comes to emergency public health orders, the Constitution holds fort. He acknowledges the predicament of choosing between conflicting laws. He told the Phoenix New Times:

“In tough times, tough decisions have to be made. I’m looking at two laws in each hand [and] going with the one that’s 200 years old rather than two days old.”

Civil Liberties versus Public Health

Close up photo of a person wearing a medical face mask


The question of when to safely reopen states has often been painted starkly as choosing the economy over lives. Yet it is part of a bigger debate over how many civil liberties can justifiably be sacrificed for the broader public health.

Experts ranging from the sectors of law, privacy policies, and health have argued that the use of the right technologies can strike a balance between freedom and safety.

Besides, Sheriff Lamb is not the only official who has defied the lockdown order. Sheriffs Douglas Schuster and Adam Shepherd, of County Mohave and County Gila, also announced they would not carry out arrests or close down businesses that flouted the regulations.

Just another number

Car with ReOpen AZ written on the back window

Facebook Photo / Bill Way

As of Thursday, Arizona has 2,519 new cases of COVID-19 and 32 more deaths. Last month, a survey showed that over 50% of Arizonans feel it is too soon to reopen the economy.

Lamb’s staunch upholding of the Constitution may waver now that he has contracted COVID-19. To justify his refusal to obey the stay-at-home orders, Sheriff Lamb declared: “The numbers don’t justify the actions anymore.”

Perhaps he will feel differently now that he is one of those numbers.

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