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Ammon Bundy still plans to hold Easter gathering despite social distancing requirements

Ammon Bundy still plans to hold Easter gathering despite social distancing requirements
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Ammon Bundy, the rancher involved in two armed standoffs with the federal government over grazing rights in the Western United States, said that he plans to hold a large Easter gathering in Idaho despite the state’s stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Bundy said that he plans to hold a gathering in Idaho of “several hundred people,” according to CNN, in a location that has yet to be decided. 

The declaration from the rancher comes as Idaho reports more than 1,300 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 24 deaths due to the disease. Gov. Brad Little (R) instituted a stay-at-home order on March 25 that will expire on April 15, though it is likely he will extend the order until the end of the month, according to the outlet. 

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"Our goal is to get enough people together and secure our rights ... we are not trying to provoke, we want people to be able to worship," Bundy said in a phone interview, according to CNN. 

Bundy reportedly seemed unafraid of contracting or spreading the virus, appearing to welcome the thought of infection. 

"I actually want the virus," he said. "I'm healthy, my family is healthy. I'd rather have it now so my body is immune to it."

Though the virus is most lethal to at-risk groups such as people over the age of 65 and those with pre-existing health conditions, many younger, healthy Americans have suffered severe respiratory reactions to the disease, causing intensive care hospitalizations and even death from complications of the coronavirus. 

Additionally, data compiled from countries that have seen massive outbreaks have shown that more men than women are dying from the virus, though medical professionals have yet to define a concrete reason why. 

According to CNN, Boise, Idaho, police said they are aware of Bundy’s plan for the Easter gathering but that they do not have any other details about the event as of Thursday evening. In addition, a representative from the police department said that they have not issued citations to those who have violated the stay-at-home order at this time. The department is using citations as a last resort, should citizens refuse to voluntarily comply. 

Bundy has been a vocal about his opposition to the order instated by the governor. The rancher has been holding anti-stay-at-home meetings and has threatened to march on the governor’s home and the homes of other government officials, according to the news source. 

Bundy’s actions also come as several religious groups across the country have resisted orders to close services and stay at home amid the pandemic.