George Floyd’s death occurred on Monday, May 25, 2020, in Powderhorn, Minneapolis, United States, as a result of his arrest by four police officers . Within days, it sparked a wave of protests across the country against racism, xenophobia and police abuse against foreign personnel.
The demonstrations have put the health services to the test once again, which hopes there will be a rebound in cases .
Will there be a rebound?
Some infectious disease experts are issuing reassuring messages regarding possible rallies from the protests that the protests were held outdoors, arguing that the outdoor setting could mitigate the risk of transmission.
On the contrary, other experts point out that shouting slogans during a protest can accelerate the spread, and the tear gas and pepper spray used by the police make people cry and cough, which increases respiratory secretions from the eyes, nose and the mouth.
Howard Markel , a medical historian who studies pandemics, compares the protest crowds to the bond parades (intended to raise funds for World War I) held in American cities like Philadelphia and Detroit amid the 1918 flu pandemic, which were often followed by spikes in flu cases.
Public gatherings are public gatherings, no matter what you protest or cheer. That is one reason why concerts, soccer games, etc. are discouraged.
Although many protesters wore masks, others did not. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19 disease, is mainly transmitted through respiratory droplets that are spread when people speak, cough, or sneeze. Yelling is a bad idea . Police efforts to move crowds through tight urban areas can corner people, bringing them closer to each other.
Arresting, transporting or jailing protesters increases the potential for the virus to spread. Ashish Jha , professor and director of the Harvard Institute for Global Health, has called on protesters to refrain from violence and urged police to exercise restraint.
Scott Gottlieb , a former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, notes that social and economic inequalities, including poor access to health care, discrimination in health care settings, increased reliance on public transportation, and differences in transportation Employment are factors leading to a higher burden of Covid-19 disease among African Americans .