You would think that a public health bureau would want every possible piece of information that they can get their hands on during a global pandemic. The more they know, the easier it becomes to protect the people. When hot spots develop, the bureau can act more quickly and provide everyone with the help that they need.
However, this is not what is happening. In fact, the public health bureau and the elected officials who are responsible for relaying their message are both behaving in mysterious ways. Left-wing politicians who were on everyone’s case about any sort of mass gathering have started to change their tune.
They have a strange idea of which gatherings are allowed and which ones aren’t. The cynical types out there have already taken note of these behaviors in the wake of the anti-racist protests that are taking over many major American cities. From where we are sitting, it seems like people on the left are ready to blame all of the current virus spreading on businesses that are reopening.
The hundreds of contact tracing workers hired by the city under de Blasio’s new “test and trace” campaign have been instructed not to ask anyone who’s tested positive for COVID-19 whether they recently attended a demonstration, City Hall confirmed to THE CITY.
“No person will be asked proactively if they attended a protest,” Avery Cohen, a spokesperson for de Blasio, wrote in an emailed response to questions by THE CITY…
There’s no direct effort to resolve a question both de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have asked repeatedly since the demonstrations against police brutality erupted following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police: Are the protests helping spread the virus?
“That’s the one variable in this equation that we’re not sure of: We don’t know what the effect of those protests are,” Cuomo said last week.
Of course, these folks are not looking to examine the role that the protests are playing. Contact tracers are not bothering to gather the necessary information about these protesters. They would much rather place the blame anywhere else. Those who support the protests are worried about any information being provided to the general public that might cause a backlash.
— New York Post (@nypost) June 15, 2020
Cities are now being forced to choose between scientific evidence and political posturing. NYC has already drawn their line in the sand and their contract tracers are not being asked to monitor those who are attending protests. City Hall has confirmed that no one is being asked by the contact tracers whether they have been attending protests anytime recently.
This would seem like an important question that needs to be asked but leave it to NYC to shrug it off entirely. Avery Cohen is one of the de Blasio spokespeople who has confirmed that no questions about protests are being asked. The protests have to be causing the virus to spread but this is not something that anyone is willing to reckon with.
For his part, Cuomo is claiming that this is a variable they are not currently aware of. To be fair, that is probably true to a certain extent. The incubation period for COVID-19 takes some time. At the moment, it is a blind spot of sorts. That does not mean that the city should be willing to ignore it entirely. It may win them some political brownie points but it is not the safest route to take.
City officials have noted that those who are attending protests are free to volunteer the information to contact tracers if they choose to. Unfortunately, authorities are not able to assist those who are part of protest transmission chains because they are not being the data that they need. Protest attendees are also likely to be skeptical of the motives of city officials who are asking such questions.
— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) June 14, 2020
There is a fear of reprisal that cannot be neglected. Right or wrong, there is very little trust between the general public and city authority figures. It’s not an argument that is worth rehashing here but it’s something that needs to be monitored. We are sure that many people are going to tell the truth. They understand the risks and the photos that we have seen at protests show lots of people wearing their masks.
We must also take free will into account. If residents in states that are reopening do not have any issue with taking the risk (even after being told that infections are on the rise), protesters probably deserve the same courtesy. One thing is for sure: people have decided that the pandemic is over and they are going to take to the streets for whatever reason suits them…..whether they’re splitting a 2 for $20 from Applebee’s or protesting racial bias.