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Second COVID-19 Wave Expected After Regulations Relax And Protests Continue

Protesters holding up signs in front of the capitol building on Jun. 1, 2020 in Tallahassee, Fla.
Protesters holding up signs in front of the capitol building on Jun. 1, 2020 in Tallahassee, Fla.

Health experts worry COVID-19 cases could rise because of the reopening of restaurants and businesses, as well as large gatherings that are part of nationwide protests. Epidemiologist Perry Brown is a professor at Florida A&M University. He says a spike in positive coronavirus cases around the country is likely to happen.

“I would love to be wrong because the outcome would be the best outcome but again my fear is that some of these things that are happening now with both the relaxation as well as the mass gatherings will contribute to a second wave,” Brown said.

Protestors in Florida lined up at the capitol building Monday, some were wearing face masks and others weren’t. Few were practicing social distancing. For Faiy Al, a student at Florida State University, worries about the coronavirus aren’t her main concern. She says right now there are bigger issues to worry about than COVID 19.

“Honestly I’ve kind of forgotten about COVID-19 because all I can think about is why they keep killing us,” Al said. “Like I don’t even have time to worry about COVID-19 because, COVID-19 I mean there is ways I can go to the hospital to get, and I mean with my age group I’m young enough to fight it. But if a cop is in my face and shoots me right away I can’t fight that.”

And Al wasn’t alone, Jordan Griffin is a Morehouse College graduate and Tallahassee representative who is participating in the protests. He says he’s cognizant of the danger COVID-19 causes and is trying his best to avoid it.

“I did weigh the risk, I actually have my mask in my pocket. But I took it off because I got a little hot,” Griffin said. “But I am also trying to practice physical distancing and social distancing. But at the end of the day, I’m putting myself on the line for this cause that has plagued our country since its inception.”

Brown says he expects test results to reflect the opening of more businesses and the recent protests within 5 to 14 days. Over the weekend health officials reported more than 2,000 new cases in Florida and 47 deaths. There are 405 cases of COVID-19 in Leon County, just under a quarter of them are from long-term care facilities.

The nationwide protests began after the death of George Floyd while taken into police custody in Minneapolis. An autopsy ordered by Floyd’s family found he died from asphyxiation. A prior autopsy done by the County Medical Examiner in Hennepin, Minnesota said Floyd died from a cardiac arrest they deemed stemmed from an underlying illness.

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