Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci voiced concern on Wednesday, that protests against racism and police violence, could reaccelerate the spread of the novel coronavirus due to crowding and a lack of social distancing.
Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that “physical separation” remains important to keep the virus spread low.
“Masks can help, but it’s masks plus physical separation and when you get congregations like we saw with the demonstrations, like we have said – myself and other health officials – that’s taking a risk,” Fauci said.
He pointed to protesters in D.C. who were visiting from other cities and then return to their home states. If they contracted the virus in the crowded protest settings, they could potentially infect others back home.
“It’s the kind of things we were concerned about and unfortunately we’re seeing it come true right now,” Fauci said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci on concerns over the coronavirus spreading at protests and whether states and cities are reopening too fast: “You still have to practice a degree of caution.” @RobinRobertshttps://t.co/mE5YW08JHP pic.twitter.com/8dU2YUTFhB
— Good Morning America (@GMA) June 10, 2020
Fauci’s comments follow remarks from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who pointed at “glaring inconsistencies” between the freedom afforded to protesters to congregate despite ongoing risks and the rights of churchgoers and people of faith who wish to gather and practice their religion publicly.
McConnell also suggested that a double-standard was exacted on the right to peaceful demonstrations, based on personal judgments about the value of one cause over another.
Protests have broken out en masse across the country in recent weeks following the police killing of another black man, George Floyd. The protests against police brutality and racial injustice have sparked policy change at the local level across the U.S. and Democratic leadership this week put forth a police reform bill.
I strongly & fully support Americans' right to peacefully protest. But through no fault of the demonstrators, recent days have revealed glaring inconsistencies from some local leaders. While some mayors cheer mass protests, they continue to ban careful church gatherings. pic.twitter.com/zkYCZcMgtw
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) June 9, 2020