Patterico's Pontifications

6/5/2020

Public Protests And Health Risks During Pandemic

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:09 pm



[guest post by Dana]

In light of the George Floyd protests, some public health officials have changed their minds about Americans being outdoors in large groups during the pandemic:

For months, public health experts have urged Americans to take every precaution to stop the spread of Covid-19—stay at home, steer clear of friends and extended family, and absolutely avoid large gatherings.

Now some of those experts are broadcasting a new message: It’s time to get out of the house and join the mass protests against racism.

It’s a message echoed by media outlets and some of the most prominent public health experts in America, like former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Tom Frieden, who loudly warned against efforts to rush reopening but is now supportive of mass protests. Their claim: If we don’t address racial inequality, it’ll be that much harder to fight Covid-19. There’s also evidence that the virus doesn’t spread easily outdoors, especially if people wear masks.

The experts maintain that their messages are consistent—that they were always flexible on Americans going outside, that they want protesters to take precautions and that they’re prioritizing public health by demanding an urgent fix to systemic racism.

But their messages are also confounding to many who spent the spring strictly isolated on the advice of health officials, only to hear that the need might not be so absolute after all. It’s particularly nettlesome to conservative skeptics of the all-or-nothing approach to lockdown, who point out that many of those same public health experts—a group that tends to skew liberal—widely criticized activists who held largely outdoor protests against lockdowns in April and May, accusing demonstrators of posing a public health danger. Conservatives, who felt their own concerns about long-term economic damage or even mental health costs of lockdown were brushed aside just days or weeks ago, are increasingly asking whether these public health experts are letting their politics sway their health care recommendations.

“Their rules appear ideologically driven as people can only gather for purposes deemed important by the elite central planners,” Brian Blase, who worked on health policy for the Trump administration, told me…

Some members of the medical community acknowledged they’re grappling with the U-turn in public health advice, too. “It makes it clear that all along there were trade-offs between details of lockdowns and social distancing and other factors that the experts previously discounted and have now decided to reconsider and rebalance,” said Jeffrey Flier, the former dean of Harvard Medical School. Flier pointed out that the protesters were also engaging in behaviors, like loud singing in close proximity, which CDC has repeatedly suggested could be linked to spreading the virus.

“At least for me, the sudden change in views of the danger of mass gatherings has been disorienting, and I suspect it has been for many Americans,” he told me.

Health officials who have deemed this cause to be worth a potential health risk, yet deemed protesting to open the economy and getting back to work as not worthy of a potential health risk, have lost a tremendous amount of credibility. By making a determination that one cause is more worthy than the other, renders judgment against Americans based not upon health concerns, but based upon an ideological one instead. Why would we trust them with future decisions about public health risks?

Given protesters’ close proximity to one another and the number of unmasked protesters, it’s not unreasonable to think that we will see an increased rate of infection. Also, given the large number of black people involved in these protests, it also seems likely that, if there is an outbreak, an already hard-hit community will experience a surge over the next few weeks. Howard Koh, former assistant secretary for health during the Obama administration, says that he supports the protests but recognizes the dangers of Covid-19 spreading rapidly: “We know that a low-risk area today can become a high-risk area tomorrow.”

Obviously, people across the nation believe that publicly protesting the murder of George Floyd and the problem of racial injustice outweighs any risk of becoming infected (or infecting others). Health officials are recommending that protesters self-quarantine for two weeks after coming back from a protest rally. Some public health departments are also recommending that protesters get tested for Covid-19 no later than 5-7 days after the event – even if they don’t feel sick or show symptoms.

The report leaves health experts with this question: “I think what’s lost on people is that there have been real sacrifices made during lockdown. People who couldn’t bury loved ones. Small businesses destroyed. How can a health expert look those people in the eye and say it was worth it now?”

(Of course, rallies are held outside in open spaces, which experts say poses less risk of infection than when a large group is indoors in a limited, enclosed space.)

Back in April when many Americans were publicly gathering at rallies to push for the economy to re-open, the protesters took a lot of heat for gathering during a pandemic. I was one of those critics. My objection wasn’t that they were protesting, it was the fact that they were doing so without observing social distancing measures (six foot distance from neighbor and wearing a face mask). I feel the same way about today’s protesters. If you want to protest, have at it. But at the very least, wear a mask, and try to keep a safe distance from your neighbor. As I said back in April:

… while I appreciate a healthy wariness of government overreach where civil liberties are concerned, and inconsistent foolishness from some governors, this does not change the fact that we are facing a highly contagious virus that doesn’t care about principles, political persuasions, personal philosophies, or anything that one might claim takes priority over practicing reasonable safety measures. We are not being compelled to permanently modify our behaviors. We are being asked to temporarily modify our behavior in order to help prevent further transmission of a deadly virus which is highly contagious and has wreaked havoc across the nation in a very short period of time. And it’s the sort of highly contagious virus that requires everyone to hold the line. Six feet apart and a mask when out in public. How is that a big deal? No matter what you think of government or social distancing orders put in place to help minimize the spread of the disease, let me ask you, why the isn’t your family, or your neighbor worth the extra effort?

Here are comments from Dr. Fauci regarding the protests and public health risk:

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, called it a “delicate balance.”

“The reasons for demonstrating are valid, yet the demonstration itself puts one at an additional risk,” Fauci said Friday in an interview with WTOP.

Fauci said not only is it a risk to have protesters gathered in proximity to one another, the nature of demonstrations presents a health risk because people chant and yell with their mouths uncovered.

There have also been instances of protesters coughing on each other after police deployed irritants, such as tear gas or pepper spray.

“I get very concerned, as do my colleagues in public health, when they see these kinds of crowds,” Fauci said. “There certainly is a risk. I can say that with confidence.”

Compounding the risk, especially in the D.C. area, is the fact that the protests are happening in places where the coronavirus was spreading at a significant rate before the mass protests started.

“It’s a perfect setup for further spread of the virus in the sense of creating these blips which might turn into some surges,” Fauci said.

If Fauci had one piece of advice for someone who plans to go out and protest, it would be to wear a mask and keep it on the entire time.

“I’ve seen on TV, as the demonstrations heat up, people might take their masks off,” he said. “You might have situations where you would foster the spread of infection and that’s really of concern.”

–Dana

55 Responses to “Public Protests And Health Risks During Pandemic”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (0feb77)

  2. I think this falls under the “don’t give orders you know won’t be obeyed” heading for public health officials. Also, people are bad at risk assessment, esp. when their emotions are high.

    Nic (896fdf)

  3. This becomes much easier to analyze when you realize that most Democrat urban governors don’t really care about their people except in regards to how their names vote or whether they can make themselves look good. An endemic, incurable virus, like AIDS, is a going concern and constant justification for more federal dollars, so spreading it is only good sense especially if it helps the city pensions by killing off the people drawing on them.

    At most, Trump simply “caught up with the curve”, though he has the virtue of actually doing things that are good for the people who voted for him, like firing Moderate Dog Mattis for wanting to extend the war in Syria, or bullying New York and Minneapolis’s governors into doing actual policing earlier than they might want.

    Also I note that they retracted that anti-HcQ study during all the commotion, the rascals!

    Moderate Poodle (1c9556)

  4. “But at the very least, wear a mask, and try to keep a safe distance from your neighbor.”

    Completely agree 100%. It was irresponsible for those earlier protestors, and it is for those who aren’t doing it right now.

    I’d also add keep a safe distance from cops unless you know the ones in your community are run like police instead of gangs.

    john (cd2753)

  5. Well, Steppe Nomad

    This becomes much easier to analyze when you realize that most Democrat urban governors don’t really care about their people except in regards to how their names vote or whether they can make themselves look good. An endemic, incurable virus, like AIDS, is a going concern and constant justification for more federal dollars, so spreading it is only good sense especially if it helps the city pensions by killing off the people drawing on them.

    Cool, a lie. But at least it’s a stupid one.

    At most, Trump simply “caught up with the curve”, though he has the virtue of actually doing things that are good for the people who voted for him, like firing Moderate Dog Mattis for wanting to extend the war in Syria, or bullying New York and Minneapolis’s governors into doing actual policing earlier than they might want.

    Please specify meaning with that word salad. He didn’t fire Mattis, again you’re just lying. And the third, bullying who to do what? He didn’t even comment on it for days.

    Also I note that they retracted that anti-HcQ study during all the commotion, the rascals!

    Did they? Or did the process of peer review identify that the data from Surgisphere couldn’t be verified, and it shouldn’t be relied upon without more independent verification. The exact thing that being peer reviewed is for. So it didn’t say it’s not a valid study, just that it needs more validation.

    Also, another study about the use of HCQ also came out. That makes it a total of all studies not retracted saying it does nothing, and no studies, since the single one that said it did something has been…retracted, saying it does something.

    I’ll take some evidence over none evidence for $1000 Alex, I mean Steppe Nomad.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  6. People just figured out a lockdown induced depression was no longer needed to be rid of Trump.

    beer ‘n pretzels (09bd57)

  7. BLARGHLY ARGLY YOU DIDN’T USE THE CORRECT TERMINOLOGY BASED ON THE TESTIMONY OF OTHER FIRED INSIDERS WHO CERTAINLY DON’T HAVE ANY MOTIVATION TO LIE OR EXAGGERATE BASED ON WHO THEY’RE WORKING FOR NOW

    Mattis was in, now he’s out. The steps he took to get there were pretty clear. Now do you have a defense of his conduct or his judgment? Or the fact that strong action against Iran’s most dangerous elements happened only AFTER his ouster? Or are you just going to quibble over terminology with weak supporting evidence from obvious partisans?

    DURR PEER REVIEW DID IT’S WORK HAVE FAITH IN SCIENCE

    It most certainly did NOT, as the article was published, popularized, cited, and used as the basis for governing policy already. Who’s to say that the study you’re citing isn’t equally worthless, much like your analysis?

    Face it, Klink, you’re not good people, you don’t defend good people, and good people shouldn’t respect your judgment or your analysis. You’re simply a dishonest partisan useful only for wasting time. You probably think that “anti-racism protects you from covid-19″ or whatever the quack doctors they trotted out for their dog and pony show today said.

    Schnortz (0e55f9)

  8. @7 Sir, sir, excuse me, sir. You appear to have spilled something on your keyboard. Your shift key seems to be sticking and when you type it appears to be pressing down several different keys simultaneously, creating nonsense syllables. You may want to invest in a new keyboard.

    Nic (896fdf)

  9. Face it, Klink, you’re not good people, you don’t defend good people, and good people shouldn’t respect your judgment or your analysis. You’re simply a dishonest partisan useful only for wasting time. You probably think that “anti-racism protects you from covid-19″ or whatever the quack doctors they trotted out for their dog and pony show today said.

    Oh no Steppe Nomad, I’m definitely not part of your “good people”, I’m not in the Klan, a Soviet stooge, or a Nazi; you know, your fellow travelers.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  10. Now some of those experts are broadcasting a new message: It’s time to get out of the house and join the mass protests against racism.

    Experts and the media, unfortunately, have something in common. They let political biases affect their work, and then wonder why they aren’t respected more.

    norcal (a5428a)

  11. 2. Nic (896fdf) — 6/5/2020 @ 2:19 pm

    I think this falls under the “don’t give orders you know won’t be obeyed” heading for public health officials.

    That would be all right if that’s what they said.

    But they are pretending to agree with the merits of the protesting.

    Sammy Finkelman (8a673f)

  12. In Minneapolis today they were demanding the police be defunded.

    Sammy Finkelman (8a673f)

  13. “Grappling” is the new-approved term for;

    “How do we apply a clear and blatant double-standard without admitting it’s a clear and blatant double-standard?”
    __ _

    This was cleared by the same authorities who suggest ‘pounce’, ‘seize’ and ‘attack’ for conservatives pointing it out.
    _

    harkin (9c4571)

  14. Some animals are more equal than others. They couldn’t make it any clearer.

    NJRob (ffc3d6)

  15. burning private property and looting A-OK
    try getting a haircut….

    mg (8cbc69)

  16. The way I see it, there’s a second epidemic to guard against now. Of two-legged viruses.

    nk (1d9030)

  17. We’ll see in a month.
    In Seattle, most of the protesters are in their 20s. They may not get sick or show symptoms, but the older and compromised folks they come in contact with could get hit. I hope it doesn’t happen, but we’ll probably see an uptick in cases in July. However, WA State is pretty far along on the downslope, so we may get lucky but I can’t say the same elsehwere.

    Paul Montagu (211372)

  18. I think the main concern would be in the bigger cities with higher concentrations of blacks and middle-aged to elderly protesters. But the problem remains that, even if the protesters are in their 20’s, there could be super-spreaders coming in contact with any number of other unmasked individuals.

    Dana (0feb77)

  19. The way I see it, there’s a second epidemic to guard against now. Of two-legged viruses.

    nk (1d9030) — 6/5/2020 @ 5:26 pm

    Sorry, nk, I’m confused: is this a comment about the thrust of the post, or something about the protesters?

    Dana (0feb77)

  20. Why isn’t Dr.’s Birx and Fauci being trotted out to attack all these protesters ignoring social distancing, restrictions on crowds, and the wearing of masks? Incredibly, in many parts of the USA, people are now being required to wear Masks AND maintain social distancing, even as the hot weather is making the CV-19 non-viable, and the overall infection rate is plummeting.

    I won’t even mention the MSM hypocricy, which has gone from hysterical condemnation of anti-lockdown protesters to “Hey, what does it matter?”with Antifa and the left-wing rioters.

    rcocean (fcc23e)

  21. Suddenly the same media types and social media busy-bodies that were screaming “You’re killing people by not wearing a mask and protesting” are now making excuses for the protesters. Hey, they’re young. Hey, its warm outside. Hey, masks don’t really solve anything anyway. My favorite excuse was from a Mr. Levine a NYC health care bureaucrat who twitted that “social distancing doesn’t kill people, Racism does”.

    Having flipped and flopped – you have to wonder what flip the MSM will do when its October.

    rcocean (fcc23e)

  22. Dr. Fauci has weighed in on the risks:

    Thousands of people have gathered for over a week of protests in D.C. and across the country in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Now a top public health official is weighing in on the risks.

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, called it a “delicate balance.”

    “The reasons for demonstrating are valid, yet the demonstration itself puts one at an additional risk,” Fauci said Friday in an interview with WTOP.

    Fauci said not only is it a risk to have protesters gathered in proximity to one another, the nature of demonstrations presents a health risk because people chant and yell with their mouths uncovered.

    There have also been instances of protesters coughing on each other after police deployed irritants, such as tear gas or pepper spray.

    “I get very concerned, as do my colleagues in public health, when they see these kinds of crowds,” Fauci said. “There certainly is a risk. I can say that with confidence.”

    Compounding the risk, especially in the D.C. area, is the fact that the protests are happening in places where the coronavirus was spreading at a significant rate before the mass protests started.

    “It’s a perfect setup for further spread of the virus in the sense of creating these blips which might turn into some surges,” Fauci said.

    If Fauci had one piece of advice for someone who plans to go out and protest, it would be to wear a mask and keep it on the entire time.

    “I’ve seen on TV, as the demonstrations heat up, people might take their masks off,” he said. “You might have situations where you would foster the spread of infection and that’s really of concern.”

    Dana (0feb77)

  23. I’ve added Dr. Fauci’s comments above to the post.

    Dana (0feb77)

  24. Sorry, nk, I’m confused: is this a comment about the thrust of the post, or something about the protesters?

    I meant that the rioters and looters are the second pandemic, Dana. Not an indication of amelioration of the coronavirus pandemic, but a new danger to be wary of, on top of the coronavirus pandemic. I have been avoiding public places this week even more than I was last week when I only had the coronavirus to guard against. Now I have thugs to guard against, too.

    nk (1d9030)

  25. Thanks for clarifying, nk.

    Dana (0feb77)

  26. “ I meant that the rioters and looters are the second pandemic”

    The Raleigh police chief (black democratic female) lectured Sunday on white supremacy and declared she would not use police officers to protect property.

    I guess that would classify as a compounding morbidity.
    _

    harkin (9c4571)

  27. Hmm, Coronavirus, it’s all a hoax.

    Banner Health’s chief clinical officer said Friday Banner’s Arizona ICUs were nearing 100 percent of licensed capacity, and hospital administrators were preparing to add additional beds to expand ICU capacity by 25 percent. All Arizona hospitals have been mandated by the state government to have surge plans to increase their capacity as much as 50 percent, if necessary.

    “If the increasing trend continues of what you are seeing up here, we will exceed our capacity,” warned Dr. Marjorie Bessel, Chief Clinical Officer at Banner Health.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  28. The government admits the May unemployment numbers Trump bragged about are, in fact, bogus:

    A ‘misclassification error’ made the May unemployment rate look better than it is. Here’s what happened.

    When the U.S. government’s official jobs report for May came out on Friday, it included a note at the bottom saying there had been a major “error” indicating that the unemployment rate likely should be higher than the widely reported 13.3 percent rate.

    The special note said that if this “misclassification error” had not occurred, the “overall unemployment rate would have been about 3 percentage points higher than reported,” meaning the unemployment rate would be about 16.3 percent for May.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agency that puts out the monthly jobs reports, said it was working to fix the problem.

    Dave (1bb933)

  29. “The Raleigh police chief (black democratic female) lectured Sunday on white supremacy and declared she would not use police officers to protect property.”

    That’s interesting. Do you have a link for that or evidence for that she said that? I saw an interview that had her decrying the looting and destruction and saying the police were working to identify and charge lawbreakers.

    JRH (bc658e)

  30. “The government admits the May unemployment numbers Trump bragged about are, in fact, bogus:”

    Oh man George Floyd is gonna be so sad.

    Davethulhu (93f68f)

  31. its shameful that all those people in arizona are getting sick just to make our president donald look bad and prevent failmerica from achieving greatness

    john mccain probably put them up to it

    Dave (1bb933)

  32. The government admits the May unemployment numbers Trump bragged about are, in fact, bogus:

    No, I’m shocked, shocked, I tell you. The Trump admin is incompetent with basic math, or is lying, more likely, both.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  33. The government admits the May unemployment numbers Trump bragged about are, in fact, bogus:

    I knew it was some kind of propaganda lie when Ace of Spades started making a huge deal out of it. The administration has a clear pattern for bad news. Just shamelessly tell the big lie, have the sycophantic media act really outraged at the possibility the truth is true, and then roll eyes/ignore the truth when the lie is exposed.

    I guess Barr explaining the Mueller investigation was an exoneration of Trump is the best example, but it happens all the time. The economy is badly damaged and it going to get worse. I hope it doesn’t become a recursive cycle, but Trump is shamelessly harming America at this point, giving Putin whatever he can squeeze in the next five months. He’s trying to yank as many troops out of Germany. Putin will move in November. North Korea might do something. China might do something. It’s going to be a hell of a year guys.

    Dustin (d59cff)

  34. Hickenlooper should definitely not be president then, 100%.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  35. Shouldn’t be a Senator you mean.

    NJRob (0c58be)

  36. i wear my mask on the grill of my van
    i get a lot of smiles, even in this liberal pos state full of massholes.

    mg (8cbc69)

  37. no massholes at childrens hospital of boston, just miracle workers. God Bless you at Childrens.

    mg (8cbc69)

  38. June 6 1944 when a large group of anti-fascists attacked nazi-fascists hiding in their bunkers.

    asset (65eaaf)

  39. I truly hope all protesters, on any issue, take all the necessary precautions. Whether I agree or not, or in some cases perhaps despise viewpoints expressed, nobody should die of something that was preventable via instructions that were (mostly?) clear.

    LYT (b89070)

  40. All the mayors and governors who shut down their economies and did everything to stop any sort of personal contact rolled over and did nothing about the protesting. They are cowards. Or, they were just trying to ruin the economy to help Biden.

    Hoi Polloi (dc4124)

  41. Procedural grounds. The Michigan (intermediate) Court of Appeals “illegal acts”: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/06/05/michigan-supreme-court-cancels-order-telling-owosso-barber-close/3159082001/

    On Friday, the Supreme Court vacated or revoked the orders from last week and sent the case back to the Michigan Court of Appeals for fuller consideration.

    Viviano, a GOP-nominated justice, wrote the Court of Appeals had taken “the extraordinary step of directing the trial court to take immediate action despite the fact that an application for leave had already been filed in our Court.”

    The three-member Court of Appeals panel’s majority decision for an immediate closure of Manke’s barbershop over Judge Brock Swartzle’s objection was “inexplicable,” Viviano said. The court also decided the matter without a full briefing, he wrote.

    nk (1d9030)

  42. Breitbart is to news what F Troop is to post-Civil War American history.

    nk (1d9030)

  43. Shoot the messenger and then invoke Fort Courage is gold.

    harkin (9c4571)

  44. Who shot the messenger? If you mean my comment about Breitbart, people who lie to you to promote Rebekah Mercer’s pet orange are not your friends.

    nk (1d9030)

  45. after collapse of the imperial college model, and other subterfuges, that amazon sought to suppress berenson’s manuscript, now the same people who pushed racism and obesity over epidemic control, like there’s no lesson learned,

    narciso (7404b5)

  46. FreeZerohedge
    @freezerohedge

    Protesters saying “f**k the police”,
    now saying “call the police” after man shouts “go home” with chainsaw.

    __ _

    Of course they did.
    __ _

    harkin (9c4571)

  47. just like the bogus surgisphere scam that surfaced in lancet, maybe as effective as rachel carson eh,

    narciso (7404b5)

  48. Do you have a link for that or evidence for that she said that? I saw an interview that had her decrying the looting and destruction and saying the police were working to identify and charge lawbreakers.“

    She did decry the looting. She also out of the other side of her mouth say the looting was so violent she wasn’t going to risk safety to protect property, you know, decrying looting while telling the looters they wouldn’t be resisted.

    “ When the greater risk is of injury to the officer, and I had five injured last night – a building? A window? A door? The property that was in it can easily be replaced. But for a person who has had officers shot. And more recently than not, I will not put an officer in harm’s way to protect the property inside of a building. Because insurance is most likely going to cover that as well but that officer’s safety is of the utmost importance,”

    https://www.redstate.com/sister-toldjah/2020/06/01/watch-raleigh-nc-police-chief-demonstrates-what-leadership-does-not-look-like-after-looting-fires/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

    I wonder what she would think of Tom Cotton’ idea on using troops where the police and local forces are overwhelmed, as in preserve civil order.

    It’s bad enough listening to nitwits on social media saying ‘it’s only property” and “they have insurance”, but when it’s government officials you have to wonder if they have control of their faculties.

    She did, however have a lockdown protester arrested for damaging the security fence at the Governor’s Mansion earlier in the year. She also said at that time that protesting was not an ‘essential activity’.

    She also assigned cops to protect her own house after a (guess what) controversial police shooting in March.

    She also included this gem:

    We can’t look at a white supremacist by looking at them. With a thousand people attending this event it’s hard to know who is in that crowd,”
    _

    harkin (9c4571)

  49. Heh – that chainsaw guy should have got the memo from the rioters about not blaming a race for…..oh yeah, White supremacy.

    Wonder how many stores he looted.
    _

    harkin (9c4571)

  50. Breitbart appeared to be hyperbolic and overstated the result nk. Still grateful for any smackdown on leftist judges or unconstitutional acts.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  51. @51. Thanks for the link. That’s depressing. I would minorly quibble with the punctuation.

    “But for a person who has had officers shot. And more recently than not, I will not put an officer in harm’s way to protect the property inside of a building.”

    Should be:

    “But for a person who has had officers shot — and more recently than not — I will not put an officer in harm’s way to protect the property inside of a building.”

    Meaning her dept had an officer shooting recently, so she’s more concerned about officer safety.

    JRH (52aed3)

  52. “ That’s depressing. I would minorly quibble with the punctuation.”

    Have to admit I didn’t really care about the punctuation. Since she spoke these words I’d assume the reporter who supplied the transcript and the editor who proofed it could use a bit of fine-tuning.
    __ _

    “ Meaning her dept had an officer shooting recently, so she’s more concerned about officer safety.”

    Also meaning if her officer’s can’t handle the mob, the citizen’s seeking to protect their property are on their own.

    Just about sum’s up the spirit of:

    To Protect And To Serve’
    _

    harkin (9c4571)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2766 secs.