Source: Los Angeles – Associated Press
The mayor of Atlanta, one of dozens of American cities that have been massively protested in recent days, conveyed a message to the protesters: “If you went out to protest last night, you may need to undergo Covid-19 this week.”
As more beaches, churches, schools, and businesses reopen around the world, civil unrest in the United States due to repeated racial injustice raises fears of an outbreak of the Corona virus, in a country that has seen more infections and more deaths than any country in the world.
Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta’s mayor, warned that “there is still a pandemic in America that kills blacks and dark people in greater numbers.”
Violent protests after George Floyd’s death rocked the country from New York to Minneapolis, and from Atlanta to Los Angeles.
Some protests turned into riots and clashes with the police, resulting in the burning of shops and cars in the streets, and city officials ordered a night curfew to quell the violence.
Floyd, a black man, died on May 25 in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed his knee in his neck.
This was the latest in a series of killings of black men and women by police in the United States.
Health experts fear that carriers of the virus, who have no symptoms, may unintentionally transmit the disease to others during protests in which most protesters do not adhere to wearing masks and the rules of social separation.
“Whether or not they are shot, it does not prevent them from contracting the virus,” said Bradley Pollock, Head of the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of California.
The United States recorded more than 1.7 million injuries and about 104,000 deaths during the epidemic, which disproportionately affected ethnic minorities in a country without comprehensive health care.
The Minnesota Health Commissioner warned that the protests were almost certain to cause new infections.
“We have two major crises,” said Jacob Fry, Mayor of Minneapolis.
Even for many protesters wearing masks, these do not guarantee protection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States stated that cloth masks prevent infected people from spreading the virus, but they are not designed to protect their wearers from infection.
Lift some emergency procedures
Today, many Americans returned to churches for the first time in weeks, as some emergency measures were lifted, and mosques throughout the Middle East were also reopened.
But in countries like India and Colombia, the authorities are still reporting a rise in the number of injuries.
In Europe, unions in Paris mocked the banning of large gatherings yesterday, Saturday, in protest against the difficult conditions facing workers in the country.
The police used tear gas to disperse the crowds, and said they had banned the march due to health risks.
Hong Kong police used tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets to disperse protests in the past weeks.
The authorities also banned gatherings of more than eight people as of June 4, marking the events of the bloody crackdown by the Chinese authorities against students and pro-democracy activists in the heavenly peace field (Tiananmen) in the Chinese capital, Beijing in 1989.
More than six million injuries have been reported worldwide, with nearly 370,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics.
The true death toll is believed to be much higher, with experts saying many victims have died from the virus without being tested.