BBC News:– The White House Coronavirus Task Force cautioned governors this week that the massive protests sparked by George Floyd’s death could cause a rise in Covid-19 cases.
“We respect the right of every American to exercise their First Amendment rights, but we want to encourage them to do so safely,” Vice-President Mike Pence said in a conference call with state leaders, according to an audio recording obtained by CBS News.
Task force expert Dr Deborah Birx noted during the call that most major cities were seeing declines in new Covid-19 cases in recent weeks, but that it was unclear whether the masks used by some protesters were effective in preventing any additional spread – especially as higher-risk groups joined peaceful demonstrations.
She also said around 70 urban testing sites were damaged in some of the more violent protests.
The US is not the only nation concerned by the effect these protests may have on the pandemic. As we reported earlier, a Black Lives Matter protester in Australia has also fallen ill – a day after he attended a rally with thousands of other people in Melbourne.
The man had worn a mask, but was still potentially infectious, health officials there said.