The CDC Director Says This Is the One Thing Protestors Need to Do
Here's how you can still march for justice while helping to avoid a coronavirus spike.
The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers has sparked protests across the country and around the world. And with millions filling the streets to have their voices heard, high ranking officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are taking a moment to remind protestors that the danger of spreading coronavirus still exists. Fortunately, they've also provided advice on how to lower risks by suggesting that anyone attending marches take the time to get tested for the virus afterward.
CDC officials have warned that well-intentioned protests may have unintentionally tragic consequences as many people congregating in large numbers for the first time in months could cause the virus to spread. During a hearing on the country's response to the coronavirus on Jun. 4, CDC Director Robert Redfield said: "I would like to see those individuals that have partaken in these peaceful protests or been out protesting … highly consider being evaluated and get tested." He suggested protestors get tested three to seven days after they attend a demonstration.
Redfield pointed out that the protests have occurred mainly in metropolitan areas, citing Minneapolis (where Floyd was murdered) and Washington, D.C, as places with lots of protest activity where there's still "significant transmission" of COVID-19. "I do think there is a potential, unfortunately, for this to be a seeding event," Redfield said. "And the way to minimize that is to have each individual to recognize it is an advantage of them to protect their loved ones, to [say,] 'Hey, I was out, I need to go get tested.'"
He also said the CDC has "advocated strongly [for] the ability to have face coverings and masks available to protestors." (Watch his comments beginning at the one hour and 42-minute mark.)
The CDC Director also noted that protests were far from the only scenarios that have created potential "super spreader" scenarios. He also reported seeing large crowds gathered over Memorial Day weekend for socializing, as well as throngs of people assembling to watch last weekend's SpaceX and NASA rocket launch.
"We will continue to message as well we can," Redfield said. "We're going to encourage people that have the ability to require to wear masks when they are in their environment to continue to do that." And for more information on how important PPE can be, check out How Effective Your Face Mask Really Is at Protecting You.