Protests show no sign of slowing, and parties have picked up as the US prepares to reopen. But what does this mean for infection rates?
Black lives matter. Three simple words and yet, one of the most polarizing phrases of our time. In the last month, these words have been on countless lips, and even more minds as thousands have gathered to protest in cities across the world.
I attended a BLM protest in Atlanta recently. Despite the fierce anger and pain felt by the community at all black lives unnecessarily lost, the protest itself was peaceful and incredibly welcoming with a loving atmosphere.
Every attendee wore a mask while harmoniously gathering around Centennial Park, with some organizers even passing out free water and masks for those in want or need. Hand sanitizer was used abundantly.
There was chanting. One organizer stood up with a microphone shouting, “Black lives!” and the crowd responded earnestly, “Matter!” There were speakers. One speaker that stood out to me went up to the front and said, “We must go about change in a peaceful way because we must think about our children and what we’re teaching them.” There was a candlelit vigil, live music, and free pizza by a black-owned business. I was deeply affected by the experience and found myself looking up the protest schedules, eager to continue adding my voice to the call for justice and equality.
BLM protests like this one have spread like wildfire throughout the US and even the world in the wake of the recent murder of George Floyd. History is in the making, and the youth of our country are leading the charge. Unfortunately, they are also leading in the amount of COVID-19 contractions. Could this be due to the protests?
In Washington state, Erica Lautenbach, the director of the Whatcom County Health Department, says,"We did have a rally in Bellingham, which is our county seat, and there was also a protest, and we have not been able to connect a single case to that rally or to the protest, and what we're finding is in large part that's due to the use of masks.” Masks are the saving grace of the large crowds gathering to protest. Almost everyone at these protests has been wearing masks, and it’s a testament to their effectiveness.
Lautenbach says the state has been using contact tracing to learn much of the spread starts with young people attending parties, with a secondary source being workplace infections. A flip has occurred since April, as now, about every 2 out of 3 cases are someone under 29. In Florida, the median age for patients declined from 65 to 37, and according to Dr. Cheryl Holder, it’s because young people are more exposed and less likely to follow guidelines.
Just remember that if you decide to go anywhere, bring your mask. If you decide to join any protests, wear your mask. And don’t forget that NuFacial donates one mask for every one sold. Stay peaceful, stay safe, and stay healthy, folks.
Written by Alyssa Sanders