Over the weekend, uprisings over the death of George Floyd that began in Minneapolis erupted and spread to several cities around the country. In addition to the growing violence, state and city leaders have another pressing issue on their hands: a possible second wave of the pandemic coupled with the lack of social distancing during the protests.
In an interview on Saturday, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms urged citizens to keep the pandemic top of mind during this time. “There is still a pandemic in America that’s killing black and brown people at higher numbers.”
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan expressed similar concerns on Sunday, encouraging protesters, some wearing masks and others not, to get tested or isolate themselves from vulnerable family members.
On the west coast, due to the protests ravaging the city of Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the closing all COVID-19 testing centers on Sunday.
As of Sunday, the U.S. death toll approached 104,000. Almost 370,000 people have died worldwide, according to John Hopkins University data.
MORE ABOUT THE PANDEMIC
A church in California was dealt a blow in their fight to hold unrestricted religious services during the coronavirus crisis late Friday. In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court rejected the emergency appeal by the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, which argued the limits on the number of people who can attend services violate their constitutional right to exercise religious freedom.
Chief Justice John Roberts agreed with the court’s four liberals, writing that the restriction did “appear consistent” with the First Amendment.
As countries begin to reopen and remain open in the midst of the pandemic, some, including the U.S. and the U.K., are proposing the use of a tool called an immunity passport to stop the spread of the virus. The idea behind the passport would allow individuals who test positive for the coronavirus antibody test to return to work and move freely in society without risking infection to others.
Private companies, including app developers, have also shown interest in this idea. Technology would be developed that would allow people to validate and show their immunity status to enter hotels and sporting events.
But experts say the passport could cause more harm than good. One includes the current unreliability of the antibody tests, which the Centers For Disease Control and Preventions report are wrong nearly half the time.
Harvard Medical School Bioethicist Natalie Kofler argued in a recent essay for the journal Nature, that such a system that hinges on a blood test could deprive already marginalized populations from access to critical public resources.