UPDATED 6:19 AM PT — Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Health officials are warning some communities of possible spikes in coronavirus cases as a result of nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd.
On Tuesday, White House task force member Dr. Deborah Birx and Surgeon General Jerome Adams weighed in on the potential health impacts. Dr. Birx expressed concern that some protesters are not protecting themselves from infections by not wearing masks while congregating in large groups.
“And so we are really trying to work with each of the mayors to expand testing availability over the next week or two, so that the individuals who are involved in the peaceful protests can get tested and really know their status before they unknowingly spread it to the elderly,” she stated.
The surgeon general said that the way the way coronavirus spreads, health officials have every reason to expect clusters of new outbreaks.
“So we might not see the impact for another month or so,” Adams explained. “All this is to say to not draw the wrong lessons, so even if we do not see an immediate spike, let’s not rest., let’s keep on our guard.”
The surgeon general noted that he hopes protesters channel their anger productively as he believes there’s going to be a lot of work to do to recover from demonstrations as well as the coronavirus pandemic.
Health officials are now calling on all levels of government to increase their testing capabilities. They also advise protesters to keep track of where they have been to help with contact tracing.