Are Black Lives Matter protests responsible for COVID-19 rise?

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Chelsea Chang

Amidst a pandemic, some are worried that the Black Lives Matter protests may be linked to the upsurge of COVID-19 cases.

Belief: The Black Lives Matter protests are responsible for the rise in COVID-19 in the U.S.

Reality: There is no evidence to suggest that the Black Lives Matter protests caused a notable increase in COVID-19. There are four main reasons why.

First, most protests took place outside. Since COVID-19 is spread through aerosols, this makes it harder for the virus to transmit. Also, protesters were given more room to maintain social distancing.

Second, many protesters wore masks. Masks can help slow the spread of COVID-19 by reducing exposure for the wearer and those around them. Protesters also frequently washed their hands and self-quarantined for 14 days after each rally.

Third, most protesters were young. Although age doesn’t play a deciding role in transmission, it can affect the severity of a case. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the greater the age, the greater the risk for severe illness. This doesn’t mean young people without medical conditions cannot contract COVID-19 or present severe symptoms; instead, they are less likely to require hospitalization than an 85-year-old.

Fourth, the rise in COVID-19 cases is suspected to be caused by reopening. According to PolitiFact, there was no immediate increase in transmission rates in Los Angeles after protests began. However, spikes coincided with the reopening.

Currently, no evidence points to the Black Lives Matter protests as the main contributor to the growth in COVID-19 cases.

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