After weeks of anti-racism and anti-police brutality protests, it seems most states are not seeing an expected second coronavirus peak — good news for Americans concerned about a wave of the deadly virus hitting just as the presidential campaign season heats up.
More than sixteen days after the protests began, Minneapolis, which saw some of the largest demonstrations, has “few new positive cases,” according to Fox News.
“Minnesota health officials are conducting coronavirus tests for protesters at four sites in Minneapolis and St. Paul, according to the paper. So far, more than 3,300 protesters have shown up to be tested and of that number, 40 percent — or about 1,300 — have gotten their test results back,” the outlet reported. “[O]f that number only about 1.4 percent tested positive for the virus.”
“That’s lower than the 3.7 percent positivity rate reported Friday of 13,000 test results statewide, the paper reported. It is also lower than the current seven-day average rate of positive tests, which also stands at 3.7 percent,” Fox said.
Cities like Chicago, Illinois, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Boston, Massachusetts, have also seen few new cases of COVID-19 crop up in the wake of protests, many of which numbered in the thousands of people. Both cities have set up additional coronavirus testing sites for protesters after instructing those who attended the massive Black Lives Matter demonstrations to get tested for the virus as soon as possible, even if they were not showing symptoms.
Health officials in both cities, as well as health officials in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, California, and elsewhere, are cautioning against drawing conclusions about the virus’ spread too quickly. The virus has between a 5- and 10-day incubation period and protests went on for a little over a week, leaving the possibility open for increased infections.
Those officials point to cities like Houston, Texas, where protesters have, in fact, tested positive for coronavirus in larger numbers than expected, per Newsweek. Texas is also experiencing a state-wide coronavirus surge affecting more than just those who joined demonstrations calling attention to the death of George Floyd, a Houston native who perished while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Results are not available for New York City, where coronavirus contact tracers are prohibited from asking those receiving coronavirus tests whether they attended a protest.
This news comes just as President Donald Trump is planning a 20,000 person rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that many media outlets and Democratic legislators have described as “risky” on the heels of a pandemic. After pressure, the Trump campaign now says it will conduct temperature checks and pass out masks to the thousands expected to attend the rally, though they have rightly pointed out that the same media outlets were willing to forgo concerns about viral spread when they agreed with the gatherings.
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