“The issue of physical separation is important. Masks can help, but they are masks plus physical separation, and when you get congregations like we’ve seen with the protests, like we’ve said – myself and other health officials – it takes a risk, ”said Fauci. “Unfortunately, what we are seeing right now is just one example of the kinds of things that concerned us. ”
Fauci said he would not be surprised if some D.C. protesters subsequently contracted the new coronavirus and noted that many of them came from other regions and would return to their state or city of origin.
“These are the kinds of things that concerned us and, unfortunately, we see that this is happening right now,” said Fauci.
Dr. Anthony Fauci on concerns about the spread of the coronavirus during protests and the over-rapid reopening of states and cities: “You always have to be careful.” @RobinRobertshttps://t.co/mE5YW08JHP pic.twitter.com/8dU2YUTFhB
– Hello America (@GMA) June 10, 2020
Protests broke out in cities like Minneapolis, New York and D.C. following the police murder of George Floyd. Over the weekend, the nation’s capital attended its largest demonstration, with thousands of protesters downtown to protest police violence and racism. Many demonstrators were seen wearing masks, but in some cases they were closely related, without observing the six feet of physical distance recommended during the pandemic.
Health experts have expressed concern that the protests could help spread the virus, which infected nearly 2 million Americans on Wednesday morning. However, evidence that the protests have contributed to an increase in the number of cases will only be visible in about two weeks from the start of the protests.
Meanwhile, states across the country have begun plans to ease restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and allow businesses to reopen. Some states like Texas and Arizona have seen peaks in cases and hospitalizations when they reopen, highlighting the risks of reopening.
Fauci stressed on Wednesday that it was important for Americans to continue wearing masks, to stay away from others, to wash their hands frequently and to avoid congregations “in large numbers” at the reopening of states.
“You still have to be careful and follow the standardization process carefully,” said Fauci.
“We know everyone wants to approach normalcy and get things back to normal, including the economy, but that doesn’t mean all bets are off, and that’s why we say to be cautious and do it cautiously, “he continued.