US/World

Coronavirus Cases Spike In Los Angeles County Linked To George Floyd Protests

Social distancing has been strongly encouraged since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. However, this was not followed during some protests that were carried out following the death of George Floyd.

This week, the top public health official of Los Angeles County claimed that the protests could have been the reason why the county has witnessed a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said that it is “highly likely” that the rallies on police brutality and racial injustice could have led to the significant increase in coronavirus cases in the area.

For the past three days, Los Angeles County has been reporting more than 2,000 new cases each day.  The positive rate jumped from 5.8 percent to 8.4 percent in the county. In the entire state of California, about 46,735 new cases of infection have been documented in the past two weeks.

Protests in Los Angeles ranged from peaceful to violent ones. Some involved arson, vandalism and looting. While most protesters wore masks during the demonstrations, social distancing was not strictly followed, per Washington Examiner.

However, Ferrer is not only pointing out the protests as the sole reason of the spike in cases. She said that there could be several contributing factors that led to the spread of the virus.

She indicated that the reopening of some businesses  and certain parties could have contributed to the surge in coronavirus infections. Some workplaces that reopened apparently do not prohibit close contact between people.

Some officials were not surprised by the surge in cases, however. They expected the number of COVID-19 cases to rise when restrictions were lifted across the state. “We’ve always predicted that reopening would bring new cases,” L.A. County Department of Health Services Director Dr. Christina Ghaly said.

Meanwhile, public health officials in Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed, said that they did not witness a spike in coronavirus infections following the protests in their area.

George Floyd protest May 26, 2020. Thousands gathered on foot and in cars in south Minneapolis to protest against police violence and call for justice for George Floyd. Fibonacci Blue/flickr

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