Black Lives Matter protests have not led to a jump in COVID-19 cases
Despite fears over mass gatherings and social distancing violations in the midst of the pandemic, researchers have suggested that recent Black Lives Matter protests have had little effect on the spread of COVID-19.
A study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research examined the linkage between the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests and the spread of COVID-19, which has been a strong point of concern among public health officials.
After studying data from protests in over 300 of the largest U.S. cities, researchers discovered no evidence to suggest that the demonstrations reignited COVID-19 case growth in the three weeks following protest onset.
"We conclude that predictions of broad negative public health consequences of Black Lives Matter protests were far too narrowly conceived," they said.
In fact, the study actually determined that social distancing behaviours increased during the protests, as some people tried to avoid demonstrations altogether.
They explained: "Individuals who did not wish to participate in the protests, perhaps due to fear of violence from police clashes or general unrest, may have chosen to avoid public spaces while protests were underway. This could have an offsetting effect, increasing social distancing behaviour in other parts of the population."
The U.S. study is the first to examine the health impact of the protests, which quickly spread across Canada and to cities around the world following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
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