For a long time public health experts warned against re-opening of the economy and told Americans to stay isolated in order to contain the spread of COVID-19, now they are encouraging Americans to come out and protest against racism not minding the risk of infection.
According to health experts, Americans are supposed to take every precaution to stop the spread of COVID-19 including staying at home, steering clear of friends and avoiding large gatherings.
As a consequence, religious and public gatherings were banned including sports activities all over the country.
When President Trump pushed for a re-opening of the economy, health experts opposed him vehemently saying it wasn’t safe enough to re-open.
Curiously however these experts have encouraged nearly one week of huge protests across the country against racism.
Another curious thing is the fact that COVID-19 deaths are no longer being reported, especially in New York, epicentre of the viral in the United States which has also witnessed some of the largest and most violent protests against racism.
“We should always evaluate the risks and benefits of efforts to control the virus.
“In this moment the public health risks of not protesting to demand an end to systemic racism greatly exceed the harms of the virus.”
Tweeted Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist.
Abraar Karan, a women’s specialist physician at Brigham Hospital encouraged COVID-19 experts to amplify the protests.
“The injustice that’s evident to everyone right now needs to be addressed.”
“While I have voiced concerns that protests risk creating more outbreaks, the status quo wasn’t going to stop #covid19 either.” He tweeted.
Mainstream media outlets like CNN also do not seem to notice that a pandemic is still afoot in the United States as they have also called for protests to become much larger and sustained.
Public health workers experts like the former Director for the Centres for Disease control and Prevention, Tom Frieden who severely warned against a rushed reopening of the US economy now now says he is in support of mass protests.
According to these health officials:
“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.”
This message has confounded a lot of people who spent months in isolation based on the advice of these public health experts.
It is also worrisome that the same health experts who were against conservatives for protesting against lockdowns restrictions Imposed on states and cities between April and May are now in support of massive outdoor protests.
These conservatives forced to stay indoors to the detriment of their economic, financial and mental health are now asking if these so called health experts are letting political emotions cloud their rational judgement.
According to Brian Blase, who helped work on a coronavirus health policy for President Trump;
“Their rules appear ideologically driven as people can only gather for purposes deemed important by the elite central planners.”
Drew Holden, a commentary writer and former GOP staffer also said most politicians and staffers who spoke up against lockdown protests have been largely silent in the face of the George Floyd protests with some voicing their open support.
“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?
Several members of the medical community, like Jeffrey Flier a former Dean of the Harvard medical school say the turnaround in public health advice is surprising.
“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,”
“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 said.
In view of the evidence, a huge spike in the number of infections is expected as a fall out from the protests which many will still want to blame on Donald Trump.
Several Health experts sought to distinguish between the present anti- racist protests from the anti-lockdown protests which they said put black people at risk in an open letter with 1,300 signatories.
“Those protests against stay-at-home orders “not only oppose public health interventions, but are also rooted in white nationalism and run contrary to respect for Black lives,”
However, as public health advocates, we do not condemn these gatherings as risky for COVID-19 transmission.” the letter read.
Was it really then worth it to make people stay indoors and lose their jobs as well their mental health? Who will be blamed for the spike in COVID-19 cases expected as a result of these protests?