There have been dozens of health officials downplaying the coronavirus health risks of people gathering in massive numbers for George Floyd protests across the country. Some have even said, “White supremacy is a lethal public health issue that predates and contributes to COVID-19.”
Only a few weeks ago, nearly all health officials warned that the people protesting lockdown orders were putting everyone in grave danger. In April, there were even nurses staging protests against ant-shutdown protesters.
Dr. Anthony Fauci is one health official who is continuing to warn the public that the nation is still in the middle of a pandemic. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said that the George Floyd protests are the “perfect set-up” for spreading COVID-19.
“Every time I hear about or see the congregation of large crowds at a time and geographic area where there is active infection transmission, it is a perfect set-up for the spread of the virus in the sense of creating these blips that might turn into some surges,” Fauci said during an interview with Washington D.C. radio station WTOP on Friday. “So I get very concerned as do my colleagues in public health, when they see these kinds of crowds.”
“Obviously, not only are they congregating physically close to each other but often when they start screaming and demonstrating—which part of the process of demonstrating, I’m not criticizing that—but I’m saying what it’s going to be leading to is the likelihood that you might have situations where you will foster the spread of the infection, and that’s really of concern,” Fauci said.
“There certainly is a risk, I would say that with confidence, when you see the congregation of crowds,” he continued. “Particularly in a situation where you have a lot of confusion and a little bit of chaos, people running back and forth, taking their masks off, being close in proximity, that does pose a risk.”
“It is a difficult situation,” Fauci said. “We have the right to peaceably demonstrate, and the demonstrators are exercising that right…it’s important to exercise your constitutional rights to be able to demonstrate.”
“It’s a delicate balance because the reasons for demonstrating are valid,” Fauci added. “And yet, the demonstration itself puts one at an additional risk. If you are going to go out, please make sure you wear a mask and you keep the mask on at all times.”
There were massive protest crowds in cities across the U.S., including Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. We’ll have to wait two weeks to see in these cities suffer from massive COVID-19 outbreaks.
Also this week, Fauci said that it’s time to start thinking about reopening schools, but it would mean modifications in some scenarios. “I think we need to discuss the pros and the cons of bringing kids back to school in September,” Fauci said.
“You may need to do some modifications,” Fauci told CNN. “You know, modifications could be breaking up the class, so you don’t have a crowded classroom, maybe half in the morning, half in the afternoon, having children doing alternate schedules. There’s a whole bunch of things that one can do.”