A Guide to Protesting During a Pandemic
How to minimize risk while showing support on the streets
As the coronavirus pandemic raged on this weekend, massive crowds gathered across the United States to protest the murder of George Floyd and countless other Black people at the hands of the police. As protesters marched, health officials raised concerns that the protests would spark another wave of coronavirus cases.
There’s no question that going out into the streets to protest in large groups of people raises your risk of catching and spreading the coronavirus. For many people, being a part of a protest against racism is a risk worth taking. But that’s not to say there aren’t ways to protest while minimizing your risk and protecting the safety of your fellow protesters.
If you’re going to protest, know the facts. Though many parts of the country have reopened, the coronavirus is still circulating, resulting in new positive cases every day.
What we know about it hasn’t changed: The virus is still primarily spread via droplets that we exhale when we talk, cough, sneeze, and shout. It’s still safest to stay six feet apart to minimize your chances of inhaling those droplets or breathing them onto other people. There’s still no established treatment or vaccine for Covid-19, and the disease can be severe — in some cases even fatal. Though older people seem to be more prone to severe disease, many young people end up hospitalized.
Health experts interviewed by NPR on Monday reiterated that any situation where people are in prolonged close contact raises the risk of spreading the coronavirus. Protests, where people march shoulder to shoulder and continually raise their voices, are a prime example of a situation where the disease can spread. While some experts have pointed out that being outdoors may mitigate some of the risk, as breezes can blow virus particles away, others think that protests are so densely packed with people that a breeze wouldn’t make much difference.
Wear a mask
One thing we do know is that masks work. They’re not perfect, but they offer important protection from breathing in viral particles and spreading them. Remember, it’s possible to be infected with the coronavirus and be…