Crowding at protests could increase spread of coronavirus, say experts

Large protests in cities across the U.S., prompted by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, are likely to fuel the spread of the coronavirus, say experts.

Attending protests, in which large numbers of people are close together for an extended period of time—especially without a face mask—can increase people’s risk of infection, said Michael Mina, assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in a June 2, 2020 article in USA Today.

“I would not be surprised to see in the next couple of weeks that we see increases that may be linked to protests,” said Mina.

Mina said he hopes the fact that protests are taking place outdoors will minimize disease transmission. Wearing a mask can also help reduce the spread of infection, he said.

“If there’s a floridly positive person who is coughing and spending a whole day around a lot of other people, that person might very well get other people sick despite having a mask on,” he said, but added, “there’s a good chance that even homemade masks will actually do quite a bit to help people not get infected and not transmit.”

Read the USA Today article: Experts warn large protests may ‘become breeding grounds’ for the coronavirus