There’s “no evidence” that Black Lives Matter protests have led to coronavirus spikes
Since May 26, the night after George Floyd's death by the police, people have been filling the streets of Minneapolis to protest his death and claim that Black Lives Matter. In the days that followed, amid the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), protests spread across the country until people gathered in all 50 states to fight against police brutality and systemic racism. According to recent research, the protests do not appear to have triggered COVID-19 cases
While protests have continued every night in some locations for almost four weeks, some public health officials and politicians have been concerned about the spread of the corona virus. Some of the loudest voices among these concerns were the Trump administration, which warned the governors of a protest-driven rise in the corona virus. Deborah Corx, the government's coronavirus response coordinator, told The Daily Beast that shouting at protests could potentially negate positive health protection by wearing a mask.
Due to the incubation period of the virus, which is estimated to be 14 days, these theories could not be tested immediately. Now that enough time has passed, researchers and those who report test rates from different major cities see no increase in positive cases. A study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research used anonymous cell phone tracking data and local CDC data on new coronavirus cases in 315 cities.
"We find no evidence that urban protests have restarted the growth of COVID-19 cases more than two and a half weeks after the protest started," the researchers wrote.
They continued, "We conclude that predictions about the far-reaching negative impact of Black Lives Matter's protests on public health were far too narrow." In Minneapolis, where the protests began and some of the largest crowds gathered, only 1.8 of the demonstrators tested positive, well below the state's 3.7 positive test rate. Other locations, including Philadelphia, Seattle, Sacramento and the state of New York, have also reported no measurable peaks.
What does that mean? Experts have attributed the lack of lace in new cases after protests to the large percentage of people who wear masks, reports New York.
This news also contributes to the growing consensus that the risk of coronavirus spreading outdoors is significantly less than the risk indoors, especially when wearing a mask. Jeffrey Shaman, director of Columbia University's climate and health program and author of widespread studies on the spread of the coronavirus, told Slate that he believed that the "lion's share of infections" occurred indoors. "I think outside in sunshine and with masks is a fairly safe environment," he said.
TL; DR: Just wear your mask.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic changes rapidly, HelloGiggles strives to provide our readers with accurate and helpful reporting. As a result, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest information on COVID-19, we recommend that you use online resources from CDC, WHO and local health authorities and visit our Coronavirus Hub.
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