The George Floyd protests have dominated our consciousness in the past two weeks. Thousands of protestors across America have marched in solidarity against police brutality after Floyd was killed at the knee of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25.
Lost in the current protests of police brutality is the omnipresence of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the pandemic spread to America in the spring of 2020, health experts preached wearing masks, hand washing, and the ever present social distancing. It’s hard to determine protestors’ hygiene habits. Looking at the omnipresent news coverage of the protests over the last two weeks, some protestors can be seen not wearing masks. With thousands of people confined on singular streets in several cities marching in unison, expectations of social distancing are impossible.
Protests aren’t the only source of COVID-19 spikes. Several states have reopened for business in their efforts to jumpstart the economy, thus ending the shelter in place edicts enforced to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The most famous case focuses on Shelley Luther, a Dallas based hairstylist who openly defied the state of Texas’ emergency orders to either remain closed or face a $1,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail. On camera, Luther tore up a cease and desist letter from local authorities, drawing cheers at an Open Texas rally in May.
Luther’s blatant act of defiance served up a fresh case of karma for Texas, as the state has seen it’s COVID-19 cases spike within the past several days. CNN reports by the Fourth of July, COVID-19 deaths could reach 130,000. That could cause another nationwide lockdown, further crippling America’s economy.
COVID-19 can seemingly mutate into a different strain ahead of the scientists who are searching for a vaccine to cure the virus. For now, all we can do is continue to practice social distancing, wash our hands, and wear masks if we absolutely must navigate in public. If we can’t, expect an even bigger spike of cases to surface in the near future.