Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 12 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/5/20

Solidarity Includes Wearing a Mask at Protests

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   4 comments
Become a Premium Member Would you like to know how many people have read this article? Or how reputable the author is? Simply sign up for a Advocate premium membership and you'll automatically see this data on every article. Plus a lot more, too.
Author 38935
Message Norman Solomon
Become a Fan
  (24 fans)

From Smirking Chimp

Wear a mask to stop the spread of coronavirus
Wear a mask to stop the spread of coronavirus
(Image by YouTube, Channel: Reuters)
  Details   DMCA

The nationwide outpouring of protests during the last 10 days has provided a historic moral response to the murder of George Floyd. In one city after another, people braved tear gas, pepper spray, clubs and other weaponry -- as well as mass arrests -- to nonviolently challenge racist police violence. Those same people were also risking infection with the coronavirus.

Photos from around the country show that a large majority of protesters have been wearing masks, often under very difficult conditions. By doing so, they aren't only protecting themselves to some extent -- they're also protecting people nearby. As the New York Times just noted, "most experts now agree that if everyone wears a mask, individuals protect one another."

In other words, wearing a mask is about solidarity.

Unfortunately, some protesters have not worn masks, perhaps unaware that they were putting others at risk. Meanwhile, some police officers have disregarded orders to wear masks.

With latest research indicating that about 35 percent of infected people have no symptoms at all, unwillingness to wear a mask jeopardizes the health of others. That jeopardy is far from evenly distributed. Older people and those with underlying health problems are at higher risk of dying from the coronavirus. African Americans and other people of color are also dying at much higher rates, due to structural racism.

"UC San Francisco epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford described the protests as a kind of uncontrolled experiment, one that will test what happens when people are wearing masks in an outdoor setting, but yelling and not maintaining their distance," the Los Angeles Times reported this week. Said Rutherford: "If you have breakdowns in social distancing and don't have masks on, then you're deeply in trouble."

Addressing the chances of exposure to the virus while protesting, California's Department of Health is urging caution: "Even with adherence to physical distancing, bringing members of different households together to engage in in-person protest carries a higher risk of widespread transmission of COVID-19... In particular, activities like chanting, shouting, singing, and group recitation negate the risk-reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing. For this reason, people engaging in these activities should wear face coverings at all times."

Also, if you're headed to a protest, you might want to consider giving away some masks.

"The virus seems to spread the most when people yell (such as to chant a slogan), sneeze (to expel pepper spray), or cough (after inhaling tear gas)," The Atlantic reported as this week began. "It is transmitted most efficiently in crowds and large gatherings, and research has found that just a few contagious people can infect hundreds of susceptible people around them. The virus can spread especially easily in small, cramped places, such as police vans and jails."

In Minnesota, the Star-Tribune reported, "state health officials will be encouraging people protesting the death of George Floyd to seek COVID-19 testing -- regardless of whether they feel sick -- due to the increased risk of the disease spreading at mass gatherings." The newspaper added that "a key recommendation will be when asymptomatic protesters should seek testing, because the incubation period of the virus following infection is around five days -- with a range of two to 14 days." Testing too early could miss the virus.

Protesting is crucial at a moment like this. But protesting must be done without ignoring the pandemic.

While some hazards probably can't be avoided at demonstrations, wearing a mask remains vital. The reality that it's difficult if not impossible to maintain six-foot social distancing at a protest makes wearing a mask all the more important. The life you save may not be your own.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

 

Rate It | View Ratings

Norman Solomon Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Norman Solomon is cofounder and national coordinator of RootsAction.org. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 Democratic National Convention and is currently a coordinator of the relaunched Bernie Delegates Network. (more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Growing Campaign to Revoke Obama's Nobel Peace Prize

Clinton's Transition Team: A Corporate Presidency Foretold

Is MSNBC Now the Most Dangerous Warmonger Network?

Obama's Escalating War on Freedom of the Press

Obama's Speech, Translated into Candor

The Long Road to Impeaching Trump Just Got Shorter

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: