How Will Protests Affect the Pandemic?

For months health experts have warned about COVID-19’s imminent second wave that’s likely to hit around flu season. It’s not new information and it’s why they warned against states reopening too soon. But some politicians are trying to blame an uptick in COVID cases as a way to put down the ongoing protests for justice across the country.

President Donald Trump’s top officials, not medical experts, told governors this week that the protests are going to cause a spike in coronavirus prognosis. That runs contradictory to what health experts said, but that’s par for the course—Trump hasn’t exactly been keen on listening to medical experts. Re-opening communities without a proper testing plan will be the biggest contribution to the second wave.

That second wave might already be hitting. Many states that have started their reopening processes, like Utah and Arizona, are seeing increases in COVID-19 cases. Cities that have stayed mostly locked down, like New York, have seen decreases in cases over the past several weeks. Dr. Deborah Birx, Trump’s coronavirus response coordinator, said that 70 COVID-19 testing sites were allegedly destroyed during the protests, which won’t help matters—but the myth that protests are already causing cases to rise is laughable.

Some medical professionals are trying to dismantle this protest-COVID myth on social media. Dr. Rob Davidson, for example, tweeted a thread providing the facts of the pandemic’s predicted autumn spike. The ER doctor and executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare wants to refute Trump’s claims ASAP and says it is simply a “stunt designed to evade accountability.”

COVID symptoms take anywhere from 2-14 days to show up and are usually initially very mild, which means people aren’t seeking out tests for even longer than that. So, we won’t know the true effects of protests on the pandemic for at least another week or two. The Trump administration is known for playing fast and loose with the truth (or ignoring it altogether). Their attempt to blame COVID increases on Black Lives Matter protests is just another atrocious lie.