After speculations as to whether protests across the country have caused a spike in positive cases of COVID-19, a national study has found there were no upticks in cities where protests were held.
Even though hundreds of thousands of people gathered in the streets to protest across the country, the study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) found that the number of new cases was offset by many people who stayed home and distanced themselves from protests.
“We find no evidence that urban protests reignited COVID-19 case growth during the more than two and a half weeks following protest onset,” the researchers write. “We conclude that predictions of broad negative public health consequences of Black Lives Matter protests were far too narrowly conceived.”
Massive crowds in New York City have not generated an uptick, where the number of cases over the last week have remained around 350, as reported in Politico. Mayor Bill de Blasio commended protesters for wearing masks.
According to NPR, Washington state officials have not been able to trace one case to protests in the county seat where almost all protesters were wearing masks. Instead contact tracing has shown where clusters of cases have popped up, it was either from large gatherings of 100 or more people without masks or places of employment.
“So in April of this year, we were really struggling with long-term-care outbreaks. And so about 3 out of 4 people were over the age of 30 and really pretty heavily skewed to 60-plus. And by contrast, in June, we’re seeing that now 2 out of 3 people that have contracted this disease are under 29,” according to a Washington health deparment spokesman.
The same trend is seen in Florida, whose median age for COVID patients was 65 in March, but 37 in June.
The concern is that when young people have milder symptoms, they are continuing to go to work, visit their parents and grandparents, and socialize with others while sick and contagious.
While there is some question as to whether wearing masks and being outdoors were contributing factors to the lack of positive cases in these cities with protests, experts say we should not assume that social distancing and wearing masks is safer outdoors. People who are in close proximity to others who are infected are at risk.
Source info also at the Hill.