White House coronavirus task force warns of outbreaks amid nationwide protests

In this Tuesday, June 2, 2020 photo, protest and counter-protest groups clash on the steps of the Idaho Statehouse in Boise, Idaho, following a vigil held in remembrance of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:19 AM PT — Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Health officials are warning some communities of possible spikes in coronavirus cases as a result of nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd.

On Tuesday, White House task force member Dr. Deborah Birx and Surgeon General Jerome Adams weighed in on the potential health impacts. Dr. Birx expressed concern that some protesters are not protecting themselves from infections by not wearing masks while congregating in large groups.

“And so we are really trying to work with each of the mayors to expand testing availability over the next week or two, so that the individuals who are involved in the peaceful protests can get tested and really know their status before they unknowingly spread it to the elderly,” she stated.

FILE – In this March 17, 2020 file photo, Ashley Layton, an LPN at St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center, communicates with a person before taking swab sample at a special outdoor drive-thru screening station for COVID-19 in Meridian, Idaho. (Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman via AP, file)

The surgeon general said that the way the way coronavirus spreads, health officials have every reason to expect clusters of new outbreaks.

“So we might not see the impact for another month or so,” Adams explained. “All this is to say to not draw the wrong lessons, so even if we do not see an immediate spike, let’s not rest., let’s keep on our guard.”

The surgeon general noted that he hopes protesters channel their anger productively as he believes there’s going to be a lot of work to do to recover from demonstrations as well as the coronavirus pandemic.

Health officials are now calling on all levels of government to increase their testing capabilities. They also advise protesters to keep track of where they have been to help with contact tracing.

RELATED: Massive protests spark fears of second COVID-19 surge

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