Turned out of bouncy castles and houses of worship, blocked from working and shopping and dining, homebound Americans are starting to crack under orders that health experts insist are keeping them safe from the new coronavirus.

In Kentucky, Governor Andy Beshear’s demand that travelers self-isolate has led to a challenge from the state’s own attorney general. In Illinois, Representative Darren Bailey won a court order exempting him -- and him alone -- from the state’s distancing regulations, a ruling that Governor J.B. Pritzker called “a dangerous precedent.” Newark, New Jersey, police have issued 1,500 summonses to people defying executive orders on gathering.

Whether through ignorance, impatience, or live-free-or-die defiance, some Americans are choosing this particular moment to do whatever it is they ordinarily do. Others, rule-followers confined for weeks on end, are letting their guards and their masks down and forging a new relationship with risk.

“We have not beaten this disease yet, and we’re going to take a tough line and hold the line until we do -- this is the only way to come back safely,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. The city was deploying 1,000 workers, including police and firefighters, to issue summonses carrying fines and to arrest flagrant social-distancing violators, he said.

The U.S., with more than 1 million coronavirus cases and 61,000 deaths, is the global hot spot. Absent a virus vaccine or antidote, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorses social distancing to slow the outbreak. But a nation conceived in a face-slap to the British monarchy and cultivated on frontiers lousy with bears has a problem with mandated queues for a shot at rationed toilet paper and increasingly scarce meat.

Lockdown protests orchestrated by right-wing groups have featured men in revolutionary tricorn hats -- as well as modern tactical gear and assault rifles. Some governors are listening: By Monday, roughly half the U.S. will have reopened businesses on some scale despite the possibility of renewed outbreaks.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released April 24, 80 percent of Americans supported sheltering guidelines, and the same percentage said it can continue to stay home for at least another month. Still, human nature draws us outside and together no matter what politics dictates.

Rene Gonzalez, 41, of Jersey City, New Jersey, headed to a pharmacy on Wednesday wearing a mask and goggles, “looking like a beast,” she said by telephone. She could handle that sort of thing, she said, as just another part of keeping her husband and children -- 12, 10 and 8 years old -- safe. But she was jolted by a headline saying that a vaccine might be available in January.

“That alone will give you a panic attack, because January is the best-case scenario,” said Gonzalez, the founder of Bambino Chef, a kids’ cooking school.

Her state’s governor, Phil Murphy, has enforced a hard line and refers to violators as “knuckleheads.” Police in New Jersey have issued summonses to people piling into a kids’ inflatable bouncy castle, and boozing it up around a bonfire. In New York, with the nation’s most virus cases, police Tuesday issued summonses to 12 mourners among the estimated 2,500 at Rabbi Chaim Mertz’s funeral in a Brooklyn neighborhood hit hard by Covid-19.

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