Tags: Coronavirus | George Floyd Protests | riots | transmission | cases | second wave

Protesters Spark Fears of a Spike in Coronavirus Cases

crowd of protesters close together in front of a row of police officers
Protesters gather at Lafayette Square Park outside the White House on May 31, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 01 June 2020 10:59 AM

Mass protests over the death of George Floyd could trigger a second wave of coronavirus cases, experts fear.

As people across the country gather to protest police brutality, healthcare experts predict that the number of COVID-19 cases will rise. On Sunday alone, there was an increase of 20,000 new cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins. We’ve already crossed the 100,000 death count due to the virus, and the nationwide gatherings could make the situation severely worse.

“I wish that everyone would realize that when people gather, it’s inherently dangerous in the context of this pandemic,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Saturday, according to CNN. “And I’m going to keep urging people not to use that approach and if they do, they focus on social distancing and wearing face coverings.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that while Americans have the right to demonstrate, they “don’t have a right to infect other people.” According to CNN, the governor added that protestors need to wear masks and stop putting other people's lives at risk needlessly.

Health officials predict the coronavirus case numbers will soar after the protests, especially in Minnesota, where Floyd was killed and protests were rampant.

“There’s going to be chains of transmission that have become lit by these gatherings,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under President Donald Trump, on Sunday.

The New York Times said that one bright spot could be that protestors gathered outdoors, which experts say could mitigate transmission.

“The outdoor air dilutes the virus and reduces the infectious dose that might be out there,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University. “There was a lot of running around, which means they’re exhaling more profoundly, but they’re also passing each other pretty quickly.”

But Dr. Howard Markel, a medical historian who has studied pandemics, told the Times that during the 1918 influenza pandemic, parades held in large cities were often followed by spikes in influenza cases.

“Yes, the protests are outside, but they are all really close to each other, and in those cases, being outside doesn’t protect you nearly as much," he said. "Public gatherings are public gatherings — it doesn’t matter if you are protecting or cheering. That’s one reason we’re not having large baseball games and may not have college football this fall.”

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Mass protests over the death of George Floyd could trigger a second wave of coronavirus cases, experts fear. As people across the country gather to protest police brutality, health care experts predict that the cases of COVID-19 will rise. On Sunday alone there was an...
riots, transmission, cases, second wave
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2020-59-01
Monday, 01 June 2020 10:59 AM
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