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Floyd protests are ‘perfect recipe’ for Covid-19 surge, says top US infectious diseases expert Fauci. Others argue: blame racism

Floyd protests are ‘perfect recipe’ for Covid-19 surge, says top US infectious diseases expert Fauci. Others argue: blame racism
Dr Anthony Fauci has warned that demonstrations over George Floyd could cause a second wave of Covid-19, while other health officials have dismissed such concerns and insisted the demonstrations are more important.

Fauci, who sits on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, says he finds the protests across the nation “very concerning” and a “perfect recipe” for a surge in Covid-19 cases. 

“As I sat in front of the TV and watched the screen go from Washington DC to New York City to Los Angeles to Philadelphia, I got really concerned,” he told the Sunday Times.

“I was going: ‘Oh my goodness, I hope this doesn’t set us back a lot.’ [After] all of the work in trying to maintain the physical distance and doing all the things, I became very concerned that we might see a resurgence,” he added. 

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Despite warnings only weeks ago from health officials, including Fauci, that social distancing and lockdown orders were necessary to battle the spread of the coronavirus, many have changed their tune in light of the protests, arguing that issues of racism and police brutality supercede the pandemic.

“Let’s be clear about something: if there is a spike in coronavirus cases in the next two weeks, don’t blame the protesters. Blame racism,” Mark Levine, chairman of the New York City Council Health Committee, tweeted this week. 

Gregg Gonsalves, an assistant professor of epidemiology, suggested in a long Twitter thread on Friday that criticisms of the protests over fears of Covid-19 should be treated as suspect because they come exclusively from “white men,” and he argued protesters are “balancing risks to their communities.”

Protests over Floyd’s death show no sign of stopping. While the four officers involved in his death have been charged, demonstrations continue around the country, with many planned for Saturday, including a memorial service in Raeford, North Carolina where Floyd was born. A march with his family was also announced to be heading to Washington DC in August.

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