A pair of tweets from NPR — one about social justice protests in Washington, D.C., and the other about upcoming Trump rallies — highlight the way protests are seemingly exempt from criticism for lack of coronavirus social distancing.
About a protest in D.C., NPR tweeted the following:
"Thousands of voices at a protest in D.C. came together to sing the Bill Withers classic 'Lean on Me,' led by local musician Kenny Sway. 'It sounded like unity and togetherness,' he says. 'It sounded like love and pureness of the people.'"
Thousands of voices at a protest in D.C. came together to sing the Bill Withers classic "Lean on Me," led by local… https://t.co/NMi0R4MUH4— NPR (@NPR) 1591468724.0
The Trump campaign recently announced the return of its campaign rallies, which also draw thousands of attendees. Here's what NPR said about that:
"President Trump will hit the campaign trail this month — despite the deadly coronavirus pandemic, which continues to impact the lives and livelihoods of households across the country. 'The rallies will be tremendous,' a campaign manager said."
President Trump will hit the campaign trail this month — despite the deadly coronavirus pandemic, which continues t… https://t.co/aS5GbYlVqn— NPR (@NPR) 1591662999.0
Here's a bonus tweet from NPR about rallies at which thousands will gather — a tweet that doesn't tie those rallies to the pandemic in any way.
Throngs of protesters gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial for a rally that was slated to be just the first of… https://t.co/frOmxloC72— NPR (@NPR) 1591486611.0
This should be simple: Either all mass gatherings are dangerous and have the potential to spread COVID-19 widely and quickly, or none of them are dangerous and they should not be blamed for any potential spikes in coronavirus cases.
So which is it? If you believe Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top expert on President Trump's coronavirus task force (who has mostly disappeared from the news cycle since the protests began), there is significant risk that the protests could undo the progress the U.S. has made toward moving past the COVID-19 outbreak.
"It is the perfect set-up for the spread of the virus in the sense of creating some blips which might turn into some surges," Fauci said, according to WTOP.
"As I sat in front of the TV and watched the screen go from Washington, D.C., to New York City, to Los Angeles, to Philadelphia, I got really concerned," Fauci told the Sunday Times of London. "I was going, 'Oh my goodness. I hope this doesn't set us back a lot.' [After] all of the work in trying to maintain the physical distance and doing all the things, I became very concerned that we might see a resurgence."
Fauci said all public health experts can do is tell people to be careful and wear a mask. But if that is effective, why didn't we do that from the beginning, rather than shutting down businesses and ordering people to stay home?