Politics During Pandemic

Toni Arzaga and Marina Trotta

In March when Covid-19 halted any normal procedures of life, the ever changing nature of United States politics was exempt from the national stay at home order. Nearly eight thousand protests regarding the death of George Floyd processed throughout the months of May and August. Not to mention the hundreds of protests about the 2020 Presidential election. 

Invoking their right to protest and bypassing mandated health regulations regarding Covid-19, protesters did not maintain a safe distance and some did not wear masks. Although several protests were advertised to maintain social distancing and mandated masks themselves, the National Institute of Health concludes protests were “violations of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recommended social distancing guidelines caused a significant increase in infection rates”

Protests proceeded regardless and their impact has changed the United States we know today. Causing immense media attention, political controversy, and health hazards – it is surprising to know that the Covid-19 infection rate among protesters was a surprising total of 2.5%. This may be due to the fact Covid super spreading events are all indoors with maskless people usually talking and eating in close parameters. Whether it’s because protests are held outside or Covid has taken the side of democracy, the infection rate of prisoners was remarkably lower than predicted. 

Despite the infection rates being lower than predicted Sven Eric Jordt, a professor at Duke University and who studies chemical irritants, was extremely concerned about the use of tear gas during a respiratory pandemic. He explains, “Using it in the current situation with COVID-19 around is completely irresponsible.”

 Jordt explaining the science behind it says, “There is sufficient data proving that tear gas can increase the susceptibility to pathogens, to viruses. Tear gas can also inflame respiratory passages, making them more susceptible to viruses.”

This makes the low infection total of 2.5% even more surprising to the CDC and other doctors. With the election and other big political news and controversy it is important to keep yourself and others safe while the pandemic continues and cases rise.