Google interfered with this blog. For documentation purposes.
Is this why we are having a spike in the coronavirus?
Look Mama – no masks? Is this called “social distancing? And, in New York last evening at city hall during the “defunding of the police” session there were people huddled together having a kumbaya session with no social distancing. Why do the rules apply for some but not others?
‘Crowding together, screaming’: Can protesters really protect themselves from COVID-19?
National Post Staff
Protests sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers have now spread to all 50 U.S. states, and spread internationally to countries such as Canada, Germany, and France.
But health officials in the U.S. and Canada are warning that large protests could be ground zero for major infection spikes, which could prolong the COVID-19 pandemic even further.
“It’s really the worst thing they can do from the pandemic standpoint, because people are coming from disparate areas, crowding together, screaming,” Dr. John Swartzberg, a clinical professor emeritus of infectious diseases and vaccinology at the University of California at Berkeley School of Public Health, told LiveScience . “And then they’re going back to their own communities.”
According to CNN , Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said it was “inevitable” that coronavirus cases will increase as a result of the mass protests.
“I am deeply concerned about a super-spreader type of incident. We’re going to see a spike in COVID-19,” Walz said.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, too, said several days and nights of demonstrations could accelerate the spread, and urged protesters to get tested.
“I’m not a nervous Nellie, I’m just looking at the numbers,” said Cuomo. “Many wear masks. But there is no social distancing. Police are in their face … If you were at a protest, get a test, please.”
With protests having also arrived in Canadian cities in recent days, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said that ‘virtual protest’ is the safest option for people wanting to march against racism and police brutality. But, should that advice fall on deaf ears, she and other health officials have provided guidelines for people who choose to gather in public spaces.
Tam recommends wearing a mask, maintaining a two-metre distance from others, washing your hands, and carrying hand sanitizer at all times.
New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recommends protesters bring face masks and eye protection, and avoid yelling, which could spread infectious respiratory droplets to others nearby. The department suggests people bring signs and noisemakers instead.
Swartzberg told LiveScience this also applies to police officers; he said he noticed officers who weren’t wearing masks at protests, either.
Police firing tear gas at protesters could also encourage the spread of coronavirus, experts say, due to the aggressive coughing the gas causes. It also forces people to rub their eyes, another potential cause of droplet spread.
When protesters return home from a protest, the first thing they should do is wash their hands and clothes, it is advised. Since COVID-19 symptoms don’t appear right away, protesters are advised to monitor their temperature and watch for symptoms. They should be prepared to self-isolate and seek testing if anything unusual should appear, experts say.