A new study says that the crush of Black Lives Matter demonstrations and protests following the death of George Floyd in May have not led to a spike in coronavirus infections, a finding that runs counter to experts’ claims that social distancing helps reduce the spread.
Oddly, the finding also comes as positive cases of COVID-19 are rising in several states that have reopened.
The UK’s Daily Mail reported that, according to the study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which claimed to have used cellphone data to track demonstrations held in 280 urban centers across the country, there is “no evidence, overall, that the demonstrations contributed to significant increases in COVID-19 cases.”
What’s more, researchers also claimed that despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of people crowded into streets following Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, “social distancing surprisingly increased in large cities with major protests,” the Daily Mail noted — another finding that is at odds with scores of videos of protests and rioting posted to social media over the past several weeks.
Researchers said that social distancing increased because more people stayed at home rather than participate in the protests, thereby offsetting any exposure.
“While the protests themselves were large gatherings that do not match well with social distancing guidelines, the protesting population is not the only one that may have a behavioral response,” said the study.
“For example, other 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,” it continued.
“This could have an offsetting effect, increasing social distancing behavior in other parts of the population,” researchers wrote.
The study incorporated cellphone data from SafeGraph, a private geolocation firm, to track protests in real-time and compared it to the number of people who stayed at home. In addition, researchers said they used coronavirus data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and compared the rise in infections in the studied cities.
Researchers included analyses of 13 counties where protests were held and just one — Maricopa County in Arizona, which includes the city of Phoenix — supposedly saw a boost in coronavirus cases during the studied period.
“With the exception for Maricopa County, Arizona, we find essentially no evidence that protests contributed to significant or substantial increases in COVID-19 during the period following protest onset,” the researchers wrote.
Arizona, home to many retirees, has become a new coronavirus hotspot.
“Separate data from the PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia forecasts that cities like New York and Minneapolis will continue to see a downward trend of new cases over the next month if current social distancing measures are maintained,” the Daily Mail adds.
On Tuesday, the country’s lead immunologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told a House panel the next few weeks are critical in reducing infections as cases surge in several states — which the experts are blaming on reopening of the economy.
So in essence, the study says protests involving hundreds of thousands of people massed together for sustained periods of time has had no effect on the spread of the virus, while other experts are saying that the reopening of the economy — where Americans continue to maintain a higher degree of social distancing as businesses require it — is to blame.
The study’s findings present additional contradictions.
For one thing, the Daily Mail notes there is “another worrisome trend” appearing — “an increase in infections among young adults.” By far, people who have participated in past protests and continue to do so are in their late teens and early 20s.
— Nicky Ferrara (@Radical_Lasagna) June 24, 2020
For another, scores of videos posted to social media show tightly-packed crowds of people, many unmasked, protesting and demonstrating for long periods of time. If these weeks-long demonstrations have not boosted coronavirus infections, then how can experts continue to claim that social distancing is reducing the spread?
Lastly, the establishment media, which has ignored the potential for coronavirus to be spread among demonstrators while excusing them from ignoring social distancing, focused intently last week ahead of President Donald Trump’s first in-person rally in Tulsa that it could become a “superspreader” event. But if protests involving thousands of people in sustained contact with each other haven’t led to increases in COVID-19 infections, why would they rise following Trump rallies?
Several on social media also expressed doubts about the veracity and reliability of the study.
That's a load of horseshit and you know it lol
— Will Campbell (@WillPower555) June 24, 2020
BLM protests across US haven't caused spike in COVID-19 cases like experts feared https://t.co/W1hjCDPkeY
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) June 24, 2020
So that basically means the whole lockdown is pointless.
— David Nagy (@DavidNagySFgang) June 24, 2020
Right. Ok. 👌😄
— Classy Traveler (@classytraveler1) June 24, 2020
it will only be conservatives who caused the spike says left wing expert
— Edgy (@vegas870) June 24, 2020
It should also be noted that at least one Democrat leader — Mayor Bill de Blasio — appears to have been so concerned that coronavirus would spread due to BLM protests that his administration ordered COVID-19 tracers not to ask anyone infected with the virus if they attend any such events.
Author: Jon Dougherty