Today’s Solutions: September 25, 2022

Preemptive reopening, poor tracing capabilities, a refusal to wear masks…the list of factors contributing to the new COVID-19 spike in the US is very long, but one thing that didn’t seem to contribute to rising case numbers were the Black Lives Matter protests. Why not? Let’s take a look. 

First of all, the protests were outdoors, which has been shown to greatly reduce the risk of virus transmission. Factors such as fresh air and wind help ventilate while the sun provides antiviral UV effects.

So, why did we see such spikes from Memorial Day festivities? The second key factor is masks. The majority of protestors at BLM marches were wearing masks. Additionally, protestors are not sharing facilities like bathrooms and vendors. 

The lack of evidence of significant case rises due to BLM protests is a good sign for both ability of the movement for social justice to proceed safely during the pandemic, and for additional reinforcement of our ability to fight the pandemic if everyone adheres to guidelines which we know help slow its spread. 

Some officials had voiced alarm over protests, fearing that they would initiate more cases in communities already disproportionately affected by the virus, but Rodney Rohde, PhD, an associate dean for research at Texas State’s College of Health Professions says “I have not seen any peer-reviewed research linking outdoor protests to the surge here in Texas.”

As the pandemic continues to spread, the more we know about the virus and its movement will help us implement best practices to fight it. From the BLM protests, we now have a deeper understanding of the importance of masks, keeping interactions outdoors, and limiting physical contact with others.

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