In the United States, dealing with COVID-19 requires social distancing and avoiding large public gatherings. In contrast, the recent protests for reform in law enforcement and for greater social equality have brought many people to the streets close to one another. This raises concerns about the possibility of further spikes in the rate of COVID-19 infections. Researchers, using anonymous cell phone tracking data and COVID-19 information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported on the contrary that cities that had protests saw an increase in social distancing for the overall population compared to cities that did not. In addition, there was no evidence that growth in COVID-19 cases rose following the protests. While the protests themselves did not necessarily follow social distancing guidelines, other people who did not want to participate may have chosen to avoid public spaces while protests were happening.


Photo by Cyrus Gomez at Unsplash