Health experts fear police brutality protests will help spread coronavirus (COVID-19)

Many protesters standing close together without masks

George Floyd protests could create a spike in virus cases, health expert says

DETROIT – For the past three days, there have been massive crowds protesting police brutality in the streets of Detroit. Health experts fear those crowds will further spread the coronavirus (COVID-19) because people are standing too close together, and many aren’t wearing masks.

UPDATE -- June 1, 2020: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 57,532; Death toll now at 5,516

On Monday afternoon, state officials announced 135 new confirmed cases and 25 additional deaths as a result of the coronavirus in Michigan.

Every day at 2 p.m., the Detroit Health Department posts the city’s specific numbers. Lately, despite a few small spikes, the cases have trended downward.

After three days of close, person-to-person contact during protests, health officials worry about what will happen to the trend in 12-14 days -- the incubation period for the virus.

“My fear is we’re going to have another spike,” said Denise Fair, the chief public health officer for the Detroit Health Department. “You can be extremely healthy and still be a carrier.”

Fair said the protests concerned her because people were standing shoulder-to-shoulder all across the country.

READ: Steps for avoiding spread of coronavirus after protesting

She said it was shocking to see so many people without masks shouting and chanting. Wearing a mask is only a piece of the coronavirus prevention puzzle and should be coupled with social distancing, hand washing and avoiding the entry points of the mouth, nose and eyes with your fingers.

About the Authors:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.