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Will Protests Lead to More COVID Surges?

Posted

Specializes in NICU, PICU.

Disclaimer: I know that I can't control what people post on this forum, but I'm asking that we keep the discussion as apolitical and health-centered as possible. I know there are a lot of strong opinions about police brutality, protests, and riots/vandalism/looting. If you're interested to hear people's thoughts on those topics, there's an interesting, non-healthcare discussion in the US Politics Club on AN:

https://allnurses.com/riots-minneapolis-t720621/

Is anybody else seriously concerned that we might see a large surge in covid cases following all of these protests?

Last week, people were yelling on the TV about how irresponsible it was to begin Phases I/II and let people gather in groups of 10. Now, literally tens of thousands of people are gathering, and the media/public seem shockingly unconcerned. I feel like I'm getting social distancing policy whiplash.

Most of the protest pictures I've seen depict protesters wearing masks and attempting to follow covid guidelines. However, there are a ton of pics of people wearing masks incorrectly (under their noses or chins), and it's pretty much impossible to socially distance in protest/riot conditions. It seems like a nearly impossible environment to practice good hand hygiene. Plus, people are out yelling/chanting and projecting their droplets even further. I'm just so glad that they're outside instead of in a confined space.

I fully support peoples' right to demonstrate, and I generally support the protesters' rhetoric, but this seems like a recipe for disaster. With covid concerns still lingering, it seems like the worst possible time for people to be out congregating.

I'm especially worried about covid having a vastly disproportionate on black communities by the time this is all over. By now, we've probably all seen the data showing that African Americans are dying from covid at disproportionately higher rates than other races. Even if high-risk people are staying home from protests, I fear that protests could increase the spread through communities by contact with protesters. Of course, once it's out circulating in the community, the virus will be harmful to people of all races. To be perfectly honest, I also worry about huge outbreaks through the police force, too.

Even before all of this began, many states were starting Phase I/II despite an increasing numbers of cases. My state had the biggest spike we'd ever seen the day before Phase II started, and we went ahead with Phase II anyway (just before Memorial Day, when a ton of people were out socializing and ignoring distancing orders). It seems like the protests will fuel the spread of covid even further.

Outside of the big metro areas, most cities had relatively tiny covid surges since the stay at home orders were so effective. It seems like the smaller impact has lulled citizens of those cities/states into a false sense of security. I'm concerned that places like Minneapolis, which experienced a smaller impact the first go around, are going to see huge, unprecedented surges and start running out of beds/vents.

pixierose, BSN, RN

Specializes in ED, psych. Has 4 years experience.

I just commented on another thread, but this is literally life and death for POC. Racism is a public health issue. A man was killed, pretty much execution-style.

We will see surges.

But I get it. Hopefully we will be better prepared. Schools are also out, so that’s a little helpful.

Edited by pixierose

adventure_rn, BSN

Specializes in NICU, PICU.

7 minutes ago, pixierose said:

I just commented on another thread, but this is literally life and death for POC. Racism is a public health issue. A man was killed, pretty much execution-style.

I see your point. This whole mess has really clarified for me just how screwed over minority communities have been. They're at higher risk to die from covid, higher risk to face food/housing insecurity due to the economic impacts of recession, and higher risk to experience police violence. Racial inequality really is so ingrained in our society in so many facets of life.

I just wish that there was a way to do it without endangering even more lives due to covid (black lives especially!) We worked so hard to flatten the curve and avoid medical shortages, and I worry we'll end up right back where we started.

It's terrible timing, but maybe the timing had to be this way, because covid had brought so many inequalities to the forefront.

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 44 years experience.

YES! Spitting at police, chanting in crowds not a good thing despite being outdoors. Hurt to see the areas in Philadelphia that were looted like Center City, West Philly and Kensington areas that I covered as Home Health Nurse. Philly and surrounding 5 county area is still in red unopened stage as high COVID-19 positive cases continue. Expect surge in 2-3weeks.

Medscape 6/1/20

Mass Protests Could Cause COVID-19 Outbreaks

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/931502

In answer to the question: yes.

A Hit With The Ladies, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych. Has 5 years experience.

The Coronavirus "Karens" out there won't dare criticize the protesters because they're in the same political party as the pro-quarantine folks. The last thing they can afford to do is to alienate the Democrats' most loyal base by November. All of the sudden, they won't parrot their sanctimonious "Stay at home" attitudes because they are deathly scared of being called a racist and guaranteeing a loss in November.

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.

It's ultimately inevitable. The virus is here. Not surprising that there is social upheaval. What next?

HandsOffMySteth

Has 3 years experience.

Wave 2 on the way. Expect to see many police, protesters, and rioters as the first victims.

It will be interesting to see if the news covers the spike or if they will ignore it for political reasons. Hmmmm...

A Hit With The Ladies, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych. Has 5 years experience.

Here in Houston, a whopping sixty thousand people showed up tonight for the George Floyd memorial.

Remember: The same Corona-obsessed people who were calling the Reopen America crowd "covidiots", "a threat to our national security", and saying that it was perfectly constitutional to send in the National Guard to force us to quarantine are conspicuously silent now. Why won't they advocate calling in the National Guard to stop the looters? Because apparently to them, wanting to work in public is a "public health hazard" but stealing and congregating in public is AOK

pixierose, BSN, RN

Specializes in ED, psych. Has 4 years experience.

10 hours ago, juniper222 said:

Wave 2 on the way. Expect to see many police, protesters, and rioters as the first victims.

It will be interesting to see if the news covers the spike or if they will ignore it for political reasons. Hmmmm...

I’ve seen a lot already starting to address it (including the much bedeviled CNN)...

Lets not make this a partisan divided thread. The political board is that way ——->.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

Quote

“During the arraignment, it was discovered that (Torres) tested positive, was told to self-quarantine and chose to attend or participate in the protest without proper social distancing, without a proper facemask and has placed other people at risk”

Man arrested at PA protest tells judge he tested positive