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3 Tips On How To Protest Safely In A Pandemic

Katie Lyon
Katie Lyon Student – University of California, Berkeley
Katie Lyon is an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley studying Political Economy and Conservation & Resource Studies, and hopes to pursue a career in environmental policy.
  • Image by:
    Bruce Emmerling from Pixabay
Black Woman protester with pink bandana asa mask, how to protest safely in a pandemic

As protests have erupted around the country, focus has largely shifted to such issues as police brutality, racial inequality, and social justice for all.

 

But we can’t forget about the Coronavirus. Our invisible enemy is alive and well. 

 

Some experts say the virus will get worse as the summer progresses and more businesses re-open. Many are worried that protests will also fuel infection rates

 

There is a relationship between the Coronavirus and race. 

 

The illness disproportionately affects low income and black Americans more than higher-income individuals. 

 

Health officials are very concerned that the Coronavirus may be spreading amongst protestors. 

 

Any person could unknowingly by a super-spreader,  an individual who infects up to hundreds of individuals with the virus.

 

Here are 3 ways for you to decrease the chance you’ll catch or spread the Coronavirus at a protest: 

 

1. Wear a mask.

 

Even if you feel completely fine, you can still be carrying and spreading the virus. 

 

While surgical or N-95 masks protect your own lungs from inhaling respiratory droplets from the virus, cloth masks are mostly good for the opposite. They keep you from exhaling or coughing droplets onto other people. 

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a cloth facemask in any space where social distance of at least 6 feet is hard to maintain. At a protest, maintaing a six foot distance from another person is nearly impossible. 

 

Wearing a facemask to a protest can have other benefits too. 

 

Beyond the public health perks, it can also help protect your privacy, and may protect you if someone throws a chemical agent into the crowd. 

 

2. Bring extra masks for your fellow protesters.

 

This may actually do more to protect you than wearing a mask yourself. 

 

If people around you are unmasked, the CDC’s guidelines indicate that you may catch the virus. 

 

So if you have extra masks lying around, bring them to the protest. Some may have forgotten to bring masks. Others may have lost them.

 

Others may just need a little incentive, like seeing a sign that says, “I have free masks. Just ask me.” 

 

3. Isolate after you come home, and get tested if possible.

 

Regardless of how careful you are, attending a protest puts you at a higher risk for being infected with the Coronavirus than most people in your community. 

 

Your best tactic to prevent the further spread of the virus is staying at home after you return, ideally away from any people or pets that you live with. 

 

Experts say you should self-isolate for at least two weeks

 

To be sure you are not carrying the virus, many recommend you get a Coronavirus test 3 days after attending a protest. 

 

Testing availability and guidance varies by state. 

 

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