It has become a widespread meme that the many protests over the murder of George Floyd and other racially based police brutality will show that it is fine to end all shutdowns related to the pandemic and end all rules about social distancing and wearing face masks. Here we are reaching two weeks since these protests with thousands of people involved, supposedly all violating those rules, and we are not seeing a surge of Covid-19 cases coming out of the locations where these big protests have happened.
Well, it turns out, that while the reports are scattered, apparently at many of the protests many people wear face masks, not only that, there is apparently a lot of trying to keep some distance from each other as well, although based on the performance of nations in East Asia, it is pretty clear that the wearing of face masks is the most useful. Among other cities with large protests where this has been observed is Philadelphia. But in many places there has been much urging of this.
It is a mere anecdote, but I can report that I attended one such protest, admittedly in peaceful Harrisonburg, VA where I live where we have a black mayor and a black police chief. But I attended a peaceful protest with over 1000 people. Almost everybody was wearing a mask, and most people were keeping distance from each other. There has been a lot of this.
So, this meme widely spouted with great arrogance by many observers is just misleading. It is quite likely we shall see no spike of cases following most of these protests, although possibly in some locations. But that does not mean this will hold for places where reopenings coincide with lots of people imitating our president and not wearing face masks or maintaining social distancing. And indeed, we are seeing surges of cases in many such states, with the vast majority of those being where we have seen such attitudes and policies.