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twin crises

Police should refrain from using these crowd-control tactics to prevent coronavirus spread, expert says

Public health experts are certain protests that took place across the United States over the last several days will lead to a surge in coronavirus cases. But many of those experts still believe the demonstrations against police brutality are necessary, The Atlantic reports. Maimuna Majumder, a computational epidemiologist at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, points out that, after all, "structural racism has been a public health crisis for much longer than the pandemic has."

In the end, these experts agree people attending the protests should wear masks and take whatever precautions they can to stay safe, but Alexandra Phelan, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University, notes law enforcement should also change their tactics. She argues responsibility for preventing the spread of the coronavirus ultimately falls on the government, not the protesters. "The state is the one with the duty to protect public health," she said.

Measures normally used for crowd-control like channeling people into tight spaces for security, removing masks, preventing the use of drums or amplified music (protesters would otherwise rely more heavily on chanting which spreads the virus), arresting protesters, and holding them in jail, may "increase the risk of transmission," Phelan said. Read more at The Atlantic.