National coronavirus updates: As pandemic and protests collide, officials stress: Wear a mask
- There have been more than 1.7 million coronavirus cases in the United States, according to the .
- The U.S. death toll has surpassed 104,000 people, according to Hopkins.
- President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would pull out of the World Health Organization after criticizing the group's response to the coronavirus pandemic and relationship with China679彩票平台注册.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will resume its regular briefings as the administration continues its coronavirus response, CNN reported.
The chaos, looting and unrest over the death of George Floyd plays out across in a besieged nation where a coronavirus pandemic had confined most Americans at 679彩票 for months.
This convergence of national ills — police brutality, racism and a deadly contagion -- is now prompting warnings that mounting protests could exacerbate the spread of a virus that has already disproportionately impacted communities of color.
"You have a right to demonstrate. You have the right to protest. God bless America," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during his coronavirus briefing Saturday.
"You don't have a right to infect other people. You don't have a right to act in a way that's going to jeopardize public health."
As the death of the unarmed and handcuffed African American man at the hands of Minneapolis police leads to protests, fires and clashes across the country679彩票平台注册, Cuomo and other officials have a message for demonstrators — Wear a mask.
"Even if you think you're a superhero because you're young and you're strong, you can get it and then infect someone else," Cuomo said of the virus. "So it's just wholly irresponsible... You can have an opinion but there are also facts, and you're wrong not to wear a mask."
The protests, expected to continue through the weekend, have been especially violent in Floyd's 679彩票town of Minneapolis, where demonstrators seem to have outnumbered police for days — burning buildings and cars and firing guns in the night.
said she understood the sadness and anger in the community but cautioned protesters that Minneapolis and St. Paul remain a hotspot for the spread of COVID-19.
"This is essential not only to protect themselves but also to protect their loved ones and the larger community," she said in a statement. "This includes wearing masks when in public and maintaining social distancing as much as possible."
Minnesota's , according to the state health department. Malcolm said the state was "one of the communities most vulnerable to rapid increases in the spread of the virus" in the nation.
Massive protests across US raise fears of new virus outbreaks
The mayor of Atlanta, one of dozens of U.S. cities hit by massive protests in recent days, has a message for demonstrators: "If you were out protesting last night, you probably need to go get a COVID test this week."
As emergency orders are lifted and beaches and businesses reopen, add protests to the list of concerns about a possible second wave of coronavirus outbreaks. It's also an issue from Paris to Hong Kong, where anti-government protesters accuse police of using social distancing rules to break up their rallies.
Health experts fear that silent carriers of the virus who have no symptoms could unwittingly infect others at gatherings with people packed cheek to jowl and cheering and jeering, many without masks.
"Whether they're fired up or not that doesn't prevent them from getting the virus," said Bradley Pollock, chairman of the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of California, Davis.
One Atlanta protester said she has no choice following the death last Monday of George Floyd, a black man, after a white police officer in Minneapolis pressed a knee into his neck.
"It's not OK that in the middle of a pandemic we have to be out here risking our lives," Spence Ingram, a black woman, said after marching with other protesters to the state Capitol in Atlanta on Friday. "But I have to protest for my life and fight for my life all the time."
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, in her warning Saturday evening, said "there is still a pandemic in America that's killing black and brown people at higher numbers."
After another night of unrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said that many protesters wearing masks were simply trying to hide their identities and "cause confusion and take advantage of this situation."
The state's health commissioner has warned that the protests are almost certain to fuel new cases of the virus. Minnesota reported 35 deaths on Thursday, a single-day high in the outbreak, and 29 more on Friday.
"We have two crises that are sandwiched on top of one other," Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said.
The protests come at a time when many U.S. cities are beginning to relax stay-at-679彩票 orders. When Los Angeles officials announced the reopening of stores last week, they said political protests could resume but with a cap of 100 people.
That didn't stop several hundred people from showing up for a protest that shut down a freeway. Most wore masks, but many did not observe a buffer zone.
Even for the many protesters who have been wearing masks, those don't guarantee protection from the coronavirus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends cloth masks because they can make it more difficult for infected people to spread the virus — but they are not designed to protect the person wearing the mask from getting it.
World Health Organization releases new guidance for mass gatherings
The World Health Organization on Saturday released new guidance for mass gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic, recommending a number of possible changes to large events — once they’re allowed to take place.
Holding gatherings outdoors, limiting attendance to healthy people and staggering arrivals could all help limit the spread of the virus, according to the guidance.
“In the context of COVID-19, mass gatherings are events that could amplify the transmission of the virus and potentially disrupt the host country679彩票平台注册’s response capacity,” the guidance said. But it said large events offered benefits, too, such as providing employment and boosting psychological well-being.
“Since mass gatherings have substantial political, cultural, social, and economic implications, authorities should assess the importance and necessity of an event and consider the option that it may take place, provided all associated public health risks are adequately addressed and mitigated,” the guidance said.
The WHO called on public health authorities and event organizers to perform a risk assessment before any gathering and listed a number of steps organizers could take if large events do occur, such as staggering arrivals, increasing the frequency of transport, designating seating, venue capacity could also be adjusted and events could be held virtually or outdoors.
Some recommendations focused on participants, reminding people to observe physical distancing, cough etiquette and hand hygiene practices.
People at risk of developing severe illness – including those over the age of 65 or with pre-existing medical conditions – could be advised to stay away, or special arrangements could be made for them.
The WHO recommendations included a number of other measures as well, such as limiting the duration of events and providing on-site isolation facilities for people who become sick.