The comedy can not be lost on the fact that people scared of racial violence unwittingly counteracted the spread of coronavirus at the protests.
By David Icke Turner
Photo by Sean Lee
According to a June study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Black Lives Matter protests early this month have not resulted in an uptick in Coronavirus transmission. The conclusions as to why the massive gatherings did not accelerate the spread of the virus are entirely unexpected.
Let’s start from the beginning. A nation already unnerved by 2+months of quarantine witnessed the horrific killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis Police Officer. All of America effectively became bystanders as they watched the gruesome video shared over and over. Shocked at the wanton murder of this man by a state actor, people of every race, age, and geography took to the streets circumventing calls for quarantine and social distancing. Every major city in the country had protests that were in the tens of thousands. Then smaller cities followed. It became clear very quickly that the quarantine had to take a back seat to America’s original sin.
Right away, we all began to speculate as to what level of respiratory droplets would be disseminated at these protests where bodies appeared close and not everyone wore a mask. The conclusions of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBOEC) are nobody anticipated.
The NBOEC focused on 315 U.S. cities with municipal populations estimated at 100,000 or more. The studied cell phone data through an anonymized population movement dataset of nearly 45 million smartphone devices aggregated to the census block, county, and state levels. They compared this data with a quantitative analysis of county-level COVID-19 cumulative case growth using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ultimately, the cell phone data showed that greater levels of violence at protests resulted in greater overall social distancing. Many who otherwise would have been out and about, stayed home for fear of getting caught up in ensuing chaos. The study made a keen observation about the pschyoligical effects of Floyd’s murder and subsequent protests had on our nation’s collective mental health:
“The extent that the killing of George Floyd, and the ensuing civil unrest and mass protests, also impacted residents’ mental health and stress, this may further lead to decreased activity levels and an increase in stay-at-home behaviors.” That said, the study did indeed conclude that there was large-scale spread of the virus at protests. The fact that they were offset by those fearing racial violence is an anomaly of the strangest kind. “While it is possible that the protests caused an increase in the spread of COVID-19 among those who attended the protests, we demonstrate that the protests had little effect on the spread of COVID19 for the entire population” the study surmised.
“We find that overall the onset of mass protests has led to an increase in social distancing, on the net, which is consistent with a counteracting response among non-protesting residents who may be avoiding venturing out as the protests are underway, possibly due to perceived safety concerns.”
The comedy can not be lost on the fact that people scared of racial violence unwittingly counteracted the spread of coronavirus at the protests. Maybe, sometimes populations work as a single cell organism despite their stated political animosities? Maybe we are not so fucked after all?