Don't blame Black Lives Matter protests for the spike in coronavirus cases across the US

Protesters applaud during a rally against racial inequality on June 10, 2020 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
Reuters
Protests against Black Lives Matter have been taking place nationwide for three weeks.
So far, they have not been tied to an increased spread of the coronavirus.
Experts say that participating in protests is still a risk, especially for people in vulnerable groups.
Being outside, wearing masks and keeping a safe distance from others are all measures that prevent viruses from spreading.
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The corona virus continues to thrive in communities across the United States.
Cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, are on the increase in almost half of the US states - an indication that the nation is far from finished with its first wave of this pandemic.
This data emerges after three weeks of nationwide protests against Black Lives Matter, but don't be fooled that this is necessarily a related trend.
Instead, much of the current upswing appears to be due to a reopening of American business that is proceeding too quickly and has fatal consequences.
The protests against Black Lives Matter last three weeks, enough time to incubate the virus, but "so far so good".
Protesters demonstrate the death of George Floyd on June 9, 2020 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.
Jim Watson / AFP via Getty Images
George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis policeman on Memorial Day more than three weeks ago.
Since the corona virus incubation period is usually two weeks or less, enough time has passed since the demonstrators first took to the streets - they have raised their voices and campaigned for human rights - including hospitals and COVID-19 -Test Centers May Have Seen Something The first new cases were linked to the protests when there was a widespread spread of viruses.
"The hope would be that it really doesn't help spread," said Dr. Dale Okorodudu, the founder of Black Men in White Coats, insiders of the nationwide protests.
But "only from a purely practical point of view would you imagine that the numbers would increase," he said.
So far, despite all the large crowds, this doesn't seem to be the case.
In large cities like New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, Washington, DC and Chicago, where numerous protests have taken place in recent weeks, the number of new coronavirus cases has actually decreased despite widespread tests. Coronavirus cases are also declining in Minnesota, the state where Floyd was killed and where the protests began.
In many southern states where protests have not been as widespread - Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Oklahoma - coronavirus infection rates and hospitalizations are tending to new trends - Time highs.
"I want to keep a close eye on it for a week or so, but as far as good, our numbers look good," said Dr. Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley told Fox29 on Friday when asked about recent protests in the city. "I noticed that most people wore masks during protests and mostly kept their distance."
This mask and space strategy could help keep the demonstrators virus free.
"I would not go so far as to say that it is relatively safe to go into a crowd of anyone outside," said Dr. Cedric Dark, a Houston emergency doctor, told Insider, but he said an extra layer of protection helps. "If you want to protest outside, at least wear a mask."
A study published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences estimated that widespread wearing of masks in New York City prevented 66,000 COVID-19 infections there over a three-week period in April and May.
Many anti-lockdown protesters gathered in Washington, Minnesota, and Florida this spring have not done so. These relatively small, isolated protests - also largely outdoors - have so far not been associated with coronavirus outbreaks in any meaningful way.
Both of the protesting scenarios, whether masked or unmasked, point to clear advice for coronavirus that was advertised by the U.S. Disease Control Centers and the World Health Organization, as well as independent infectious disease experts around the world: go outside . Because it is much more difficult for this virus to fester in the fresh air and in the sun.
This virus thrives indoors, not outdoors
Protesters march through the streets of Manhattan, New York, Sunday, June 7, 2020.
Associated Press
Many scientific studies on the transmission of coronaviruses outdoors are still being examined by experts. However, a Chinese research group found that out of 318 different outbreaks of coronavirus in this country, only one was common outdoors. Another study conducted in Japan found that COVID-19 was almost 19 times more likely to be transmitted in a closed environment than in the open air.
For this reason, an indoor wedding, attended by more than 350 people in Jordan, raised the virus easily, as did an indoor choir practice in Washington, USA, that was full of singers who spat potentially virus-laden spatters across the room. Ventilation systems can also play a role in this viral dance. A study of how the coronavirus penetrated a restaurant in Guangzhou, China last January showed how one patient's infection spread to 10 people from three different family groups while they all went out to eat, probably using the restaurant's air conditioning .
So it makes sense that an indoor political rally with lots of singing and shouting could be a dangerous place where the virus can spread from person to person, while a day on the sidewalk at a distance might not be as risky.
A new report from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which examined coronavirus cases across Japan from January to April, found (again) that coronavirus clusters often form when people breathe in close proximity, even if they "sing at karaoke parties, cheer in clubs, have conversations in bars and train in gyms."
"It is still a bit early to conclude that these protests have not been broadcast," Ben Cowling, epidemiologist and mask researcher at the School of Public Health at the University of Hong Kong told Insider via email. "But I expect there will be little transmission because the activities were mostly outdoors, where COVID is not as widespread."
Bars, restaurants, offices, gyms and private homes are great places to spread the virus
People are working on a mural "Black Lives Matter" on Fulton Street in the Bedford - Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York on June 14, 2020.
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Pablo Monsalve / VIEWpress via Getty Images
Other activities that Americans are doing again this spring are not as low-risk.
"People gather on holidays and enjoy spending time with people," said John Henry, a contact tracer from the Department of Health of Columbus, Ohio, when he called reporters earlier this month, saying that he had seen a trend in which the Infection rates peaked after vacation weekends when people spend a lot of time with extended families and friends, including Mother's Day and Memorial Day weekends.
"I think everyone is really hungry for this kind of togetherness," he said.
A health care worker in Jacksonville, Florida recently regretted such a situation to local TV station WJXT and said "it was too early to open it all up" after she and 15 of her friends all tested positive for the corona virus afterwards spend a single night together in an Irish pub - without masks.
It is this kind of close connection that the coronavirus easily produces, especially when people spend a lot of time together, indoors, cuddled in close proximity, without masks or shields.
In Arizona, a state that reopened its bars and restaurants in mid-May, according to AZ Central, the number of coronaviruses has increased by 82% in the past two weeks.
In Texas, hospitalizations have been on the rise since Memorial Day, and the number of beds available in South Florida in the intensive care unit has also decreased.
"The reason we see an increase in cases here in Houston is because of the decisions our governor made to open the economy fairly aggressively," Dark said, arguing that the state reopening is now in phase three - The federal government defines "for states and regions with no signs of recovery" is being advanced too quickly.
"If I made these decisions, I would say, 'Oh, maybe it's time to call them back down,'" said Dark.
In Nevada, Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak does just that and delays the third phase of his state's reopening plan, just two weeks after the Las Vegas casinos reopened (on June 4).
"We have seen an increase in positive cases that are not yet impacting hospital capacity," the governor said in a tweet Monday night. "We take it seriously, as we have done all the time."
If you want to be in a crowd, bring a mask, disinfectant, and some space
People gather to protest the recent murder of George Floyd on May 29, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan.
Matthew Hatcher / Getty Images
For those who want to protest, Dark believes it is important that you first feel healthy, wear a mask, and avoid the crowds altogether if you are in a high-risk group or "over 50". It is also important to consider who might be at risk in your household and to stay away from elders and other vulnerable health groups for two weeks after you have been on the street.
Maintain good hand hygiene by wearing a disinfectant before eating or drinking, or touching your face with your hands.
In this way, Okorodudu recently approached a protest against "White Coats for Black Lives", in which he and other health workers attended a local Dallas hospital.
"We followed the protocols," he said. "Masks were mandatory, physical distancing, mandatory ... I wasn't worried about either of us getting [coronavirus]."
The doctor said the problem with the protests - police violence against blacks - was "so significant" that it "justifies a loud voice of the community" despite the potential risks of virus transmission.
A Black Trans Lives Matter rally in Brooklyn, New York on June 14, 2020.
Alfredo Macias on Reuters
Other black doctors agree.
"If your life is threatened by police brutality that you can see every day compared to a tiny virus that you can never see, people will be out there protesting something that isn't just a threat to them." in 2020, but back in the past 401 years, "said Dark.
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