HEALTH experts who condemned the lockdown rallies were blasted as "hypocrites" for supporting the George Floyd protests because "racism is worse than coronavirus."
Multiple disease specialists and officials issued their support for the past 12 days of anti-racism marches after protests calling for the country to reopen were widely condemned during the COVID-19 crisis.
Donald Trump retweeted a number of people who said this was hypocritical on Twitter this week, after officials warned Americans marching for Floyd to "assume you are infected" with the deadly bug.
At least 75 cities across the US have seen widespread protests and social unrest over systemic racism since Floyd's police custody death in Minneapolis on May 25, with looting and violence in many areas.
William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, told The Sun a “burst of transmissions” should be expected as a result of the protests, while CDC director Robert Redfield conceded "there is a potential, unfortunately, for this to be a seeding event."
NYC Council Health Committee Chairman Mark D. Levine, former CDC boss Tom Frieden, and epidemiology and global health expert Jennifer Nuzzo tweeted their solidarity with the Black Lives Movement, despite the health risks.
"We should always evaluate the risks and benefits of efforts to control the virus," Nuzzo wrote. "In this moment the public health risks of not protesting to demand an end to systemic racism greatly exceed the harms of the virus."
But conservative commentators have blasted their stance after anti-lockdown demonstrators received a swift backlash.
"Remember, if you don't social distance, you're literally killing people,' Buck Sexton tweeted. "That's what they told us. The experts.'"
Media critic Stephen L. Miller said conservatives "are upset at the political leaders who think protesting and mass gatherings are more important suddenly than being able to feed your family or keep your business open," reported Politico.
Cornell Law School professor William A. Jacobson told Fox News the coverage of the Floyd protests was also hypocritical.
"The riots have ripped the mask off the mainstream media politicized coronavirus hysteria," he said.
"When it was politically convenient, the media shamed and attacked people who wanted to reopen their stores or even gather at the beach.
"Now that rioters and looters are gathering in large numbers, the media no longer cares about social distancing, because the media sympathizes with them."
Experts, health departments, officials and state leaders like NY Gov Andrew Cuomo conceded that the virus rapidly spreads in these large gatherings and pleaded with protestors to get tested.
“Chanting and yelling means inhaling more air and breathing more deeply, and if someone is shedding the virus it’s more likely you’ll get an infectious dose if you’re next to them," Schaffner explained.
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“I don’t think there’s a single public health person that would be excited about these demonstrations from the point of view of COVID-19 transmission, but the reasons are another matter.”
Indeed, Redfield said cops' tactics weren't helping: the use of tear gas and pepper spray and cause coughing the increase the spread.
"Definitely, coughing can spread respiratory viruses, including COVID-19," he said.