More than 1200 public health experts, infectious disease professionals, and community stakeholders have signed onto an open letter explaining why they support anti-racism protests happening across the country despite the potential risk of coronavirus spread.
According to Slate, the letter, written by infectious disease experts at University of Washington with input from other colleagues, comes after an avalanche of media requests asking them to comment on the COVID-19 risks associated with public gatherings.
The letter opens with describing the differences between the largely white anti-stay-at-home-order protests we saw last month and the protests against racial injustice and police brutality we are seeing now, stating that the response "must be wholly different" and that "infectious disease experts must be clear and consistent in prioritizing an anti-racist message."
The letter is clear on why these protests must be supported. "White supremacy is a lethal public health issue that predates and contributes to COVID-19," it states. "In addressing demonstrations against white supremacy, our first statement must be one of unwavering support for those who would dismantle, uproot, or reform racist institutions."
But what about social distancing? The letter addresses that question too:
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