George Floyd Protestors May Be Creating ‘Super-Spreader’ Events For Coronavirus

( People across the country have gathered in large groups to protest over George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.
And while officials across the country don’t want to quell their First Amendment rights to do so — as long as it’s done in a non-violent manner — they are concerned about one thing: The spread of coronavirus.
All states that have begun to re-open have kept in place some sort of restriction regarding gatherings of large crowds. Even for gatherings of 10 people or so, organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have advised people to wear masks.
Over the weekend, though, protestors can be seen gathering in large crowds in the streets in Minnesota, California, New York, Georgia and many other states, many without protective masks. This has led many officials to be concerned about a possible outbreak and new spread of coronavirus.
As Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said:
“I am deeply concerned about a super-spreader type of incident. We’re going to see a spike in COVID-19. It’s inevitable.”
To date, there have been roughly 1.8 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, with almost 105,000 deaths. Many people are expecting another surge in cases due to these protests, though. In fact, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, there was an increase in 20,000 new cases on Sunday alone.
Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, is equally concerned. On Saturday, he advised that people use a different form of demonstration that gathering in large crowds, saying:
“I would still wish that everyone would realize that when people gather, it’s inherently dangerous in the context of this pandemic, and I’m going to keep urging people to not use that approach, and if they do, they focus on social distancing and wear face coverings.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo echoed those words, saying that people have a duty to help protect themselves and others from the spread of the coronavirus. He said:
“You have a right to demonstrate. You have a right to protest, god bless America. You don’t have a right to infect other people. You don’t have a right to act in a way that’s going to jeopardize public health.”
Cuomo, then, said people should “demonstrate with a mask on,” referring specifically to how the virus has affected minority communities. He continued:
“The coronavirus crisis has created a depth of pain that still has not been accounted for. So many New Yorkers lost someone, but that is particularly true in communities of color and particularly true in the African-American community. That loss is being felt so deeply because everyone knows it’s not based on equality … communities of color lost so much more.”
Governors, mayors and local officials are likely going to have to continue striking a message of balance between encouraging people to express their right to free speech peacefully while also warning them of the dangers of doing so the traditional way during the coronavirus pandemic.