The Grapevine

Researchers Claim Protests Did Not Cause Coronavirus Spike In Seattle, Other Places

COVID-19 cases are spiking in the United States and such is attributed to several factors. Some are blaming it on the business reopening of establishments with some failing to adhere to the guidelines set forth by health officials. But even before that, there were mass protests tied to the untimely death of George Floyd. Mass gatherings occurred in different states and a cause for concern was demonstrators not wearing masks and observing social distancing.

Failing to adhere to those, fears of further spread of the coronavirus were raised. However, it appears that people who joined these protests did not significantly contribute to the surge of COVID-19 cases most are seeing right now. Researchers feel that external factors such as air circulation may help diffuse the virus. Someone who joined the protests is Dr. Jared Baeten, a vice dean at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health. He wore a mask and joined the March of Silence activities last June 12 that had over 60,000 people, the Seattle Times reported.

“I would say that outside makes a big difference because of much more air circulation,” Baeten said.

As most know, contact tracing is a measure to determine how many may be infected by COVID-19. Numbers from various regions return that the number of positive cases is not that big. Like in King County, less than 5 percent of 1,008 total positive cases were found on people who attended protests during 19 days in June. In Minneapolis and Portland, it has yet to be found if protests did contribute to the surge in coronavirus cases.

“The data may be imperfect but … neither here in King County, or elsewhere in the county, where health care authorities are looking, have we been able to document that or find strong evidence of that,” Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, health officer of Public Health — Seattle & King County said.

There is currently a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research that is analyzing the protests held in 315 large cities. Though it has not been peer-reviewed, there remains no evidence that the protests were part of the reason why the COVID-19 virus has been reignited.

George Floyd protest Rally in Grand Army Plaza after the death of George Floyd. Rhododendrites/Wikimedia Commons

Some regions remain skeptical, although they have yet to show the numbers to back their belief. In Los Angeles, officers are contracting the virus but it has yet to be determined if there is any link to them to the mass protests.

COVID-19 cases have been on the rise as of late and the younger people are testing positive. As most know, the older ones are more susceptible to contracting the coronavirus. A reason seen here is the business reopening of bars and establishments. Wearing of masks, social distancing and practicing proper hygiene remain anyone's best protection, something select individuals have chosen to ignore. These remain the best weapons for now until a COVID-19 vaccine comes out.

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