People all over the country and even past the borders of the United States have been demonstrating to fight for racial inequality in the past few weeks. Following the death of George Floyd, who was killed by a police officer who fatally attempted to detain him, diverse populations containing people of different races, genders, sexualities, education, and many more have and are continuing to protest for equal rights.
Image Source: Time Magazine
Health officials are concerned that these mass gatherings of people in which not everybody is properly protected and it is difficult to practice social distancing are exposing many people to the virus. The incubation period of the virus hovers around 2 weeks before symptoms start to show in a patient. Healthcare professionals urge those that have been involved in these protests to undergo testing for the coronavirus to prevent further spread. People planning on partaking in protests should try their best to continue to practice the CDC guidelines to prevent contraction of the virus:
- Wear a protective mask that covers both the nose and mouth at all times when in public spaces or in close proximity to others
- This is not only to protect yourself from others, but more importantly to protect others, especially the vulnerable population, in case you are a carrier
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds when you cough or sneeze and blow your nose and after being in public spaces
- You can use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol
- Excessive washing and alcohol can dry out your hands and create microtears in your skin which may expose them to germs–make sure to use cream or lotion to prevent them from drying out
- Avoid touching your face at all times especially in public when your hands are not clean
- Avoid close contact with people especially outside of your home
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are commonly touched like door knobs and phones
- Monitor your health and seek medical help early when you feel like you have been exposed to the virus or start developing early symptoms, which may include, but are not limited to, coughs, fever, and shortness of breath
- If you develop symptoms, make sure to follow the CDC guidelines to proceed in seeking help
Image Source: US News and World Report
During this incredibly emotional time that is upsetting yet beautiful at the same time that masses of people are unified for this cause, we must continue to keep in mind the health of the population in the still ongoing pandemic. It is important now more than ever that people continue to support each other to fight for what is right and for what we believe. As we support the fight for our rights and other people rights, we must also support our health and other people’s health. We must trust scientists and medical professionals and follow their advice and guidelines to not only protect ourselves but also others. So at the next protest, stand strong next to your peers, but do not forget to stay safe, wear a mask, and wash your hands afterwards.
By Emin Lee