Protests against police brutality didn't spur more coronavirus cases, early study suggests

New research suggests that national protests against police brutality after a Black man was killed in Minneapolis police custody have not resulted in a spike in new COVID-19 cases, CNN reports.

Protests against the killing of George Floyd, who died on Memorial Day, have grown into a national rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement as well as a public health concern.

Health experts worried that the protests, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, would result in a rise in coronavirus cases, according to a June 1 CNN article.

So far, those public health fears have not been confirmed.

A study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research examined data on protests in 315 of the largest U.S. cities.

Researchers said that they found no evidence that the protests had reignited COVID-19 case growth in the three weeks since the protests began.

They found that social distancing actually increased among those who did not attend protests and decreased among those who participated. But the decrease in social distancing among those who participated in the protests "is more than offset" by the rise in social-distancing behavior among those who avoided the protests altogether, they concluded.

The study was published as a working paper, which means it has not been peer-reviewed nor has it been subject to the review by the National Bureau of Economic Research board of directors. It was circulated for discussion and comment purposes.

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