Stay Home, but Go Protest

Protesters raise fists during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Brooklyn, New York on June 5, 2020. Image: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty
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Protesters raise fists during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Brooklyn, New York on June 5, 2020. Image: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty

As governors, mayors, and public health leaders joined recent mass protests across the US, some critics have cried foul—charging them with hypocrisy and political motivations for suddenly downplaying the importance of aggressive social distancing, The Washington Post reports.

Government and public health leaders respond by saying there’s a difference between protesting systemic racism (with its devastating costs to health) and an Ozarks pool party.

The Charge: “Social distancing is critical to stop the spread of COVID-19 — unless you have a great photo op. And control,” tweeted Rep. Lynn Afendoulis (R-Mich.).

The Response: “Protesting against systemic injustice that is contributing directly to this pandemic is essential,” Ranu S. Dhillon, an infectious-disease expert at Harvard Medical School told the Post.

Even as some decried limits on attending church or the shaming of lockdown protesters, more than 1,200 public health experts have signed on to a letterwritten by University of Washington researchers supporting the protests. It argued the protests against the killing of George Floyd and systemic racism were “vital to the national public health and to the threatened health specifically of black people in the United States,” CNN reported.
 

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