Despite what Trump and the right-wing media would like you to believe, a new study has corfirmed that the recent Black Lives Matter protests did not lead to a spike in coronavirus cases in the US.
In a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research, it was revealed that demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism following the murder of George Floyd may have actually helped to increase social distancing behaviours by encouraging non-protesters to stay at home.
“Event study analyses provide strong evidence that net stay-at-home behaviour increased following protest onset,” the study said, “consistent with the hypothesis that non-protesters’ behaviour was substantially affected by urban protests.”
The report also found “no evidence that urban protests reignited COVID-19 case growth”, adding: “We conclude that predictions of broad negative public health consequences of Black Lives Matter protests were far too narrowly conceived.”
Although the study admits that there may have been an increased spread of the virus between protesters, the impact it had on those who weren’t demonstrating “more than offset” the overall spread. It suggested people avoided protests partly in fear or disagreement with them, but also because of other factors like street closures and traffic congestion.
BLM protests aside, coronavirus cases in the US have skyrocketed in the last few weeks, with the US recording its highest one-day total since April on Wednesday (June 24). The country, which has the most cases and deaths in the world, has been easing its lockdown measures over the past month. Following Trump’s re-election rally in Tulsa – which was sabotaged by teens on TikTok – last weekend (June 20), dozens of US Secret Service personnel are now having to self-isolate after a number of Trump’s team tested positive for the virus. You can see how the US’ pandemic spread out of control in The New York Times’ interactive map.