Health officials across the country have warned of contracting coronavirus while protesting police brutality, but a new study suggests the protests haven't resulted in a spike of new cases.
In recent weeks, there's been an increase in cases in states such as Florida as more locations continue to open. However, the new study, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, data taken from protests across over 300 of the biggest U.S. cities suggests there's no evidence linking the protests with the rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks. As a result of the protests, researchers have determined that social distancing behaviors have increased in the aftermath.
"Our findings suggest that any direct decrease in social distancing among the subset of the population participating in the protests is more than offset by increasing social distancing behavior among others who may choose to shelter-at-home and circumvent public places while the protests are underway," the research reads.
It is worth noting, though, that it's still possible that protests could have caused an increase in spread of the virus among those who attended. "There are other possible explanations for our findings as well, such as avoiding travel outside the home due to additional traffic congestion or street closures, or due to lack of available activities from businesses closures near protest sites," the study adds.
As the Wall Street Journal reported last week, early testing data from cities across the country suggested Black Lives Matter protests haven't led to a uptick in new cases. On Tuesday, it was reported by the Los Angeles Times that infections among Los Angeles police officers have spiked in the past few weeks; protesters have criticized officers in numerous states for not wearing face masks during the protests.