To fight and defend one’s ideas and rights is the key point for every civil society. These days, the United States population is protesting, and we could see that the higher the number of participants, the better the outcome of the protest. However, over several months, the world population was brought to its knees by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, responsible for the countless deaths and worldwide economic downfall. The best line of protest should take place reconciling the right of expression along with the sacrifices made during the lockdown.
It is justified to worry when you acknowledge that the protests these days go hand in hand with the increasing totals of infection. In fact, health experts and local authorities express their fear of new peaks of infection.
For example, the governors of Minnesota and New York have requested that all protesters be tested for COVID-19. If you consider that during the last week, especially in the states that have mostly re-opened (Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Arizona, Oregon) the increase of infection has passed the 1000 mark, such a request is reasonable.
From a scientific perspective, there is no practical explanation to pass from a state of total lockdown to one of total freedom. It is not possible to protest without respecting social distancing and without wearing a mask. The virus is still circulating and there is no scientific proof that it has mutated to a more benign form.
To sustain such theory, it would be necessary to isolate the virus in actual patients, sequencing its genetic material, comparing it with its previous one, and identifying possible significant mutations. Subsequently, further investigations should take place to prove the direct correlation between the eventual observed mutated version and the state of the induced pathology. Therefore, to date, the virus we have acknowledged since January is still the same, taking advantage of these demonstrations so they continue to spread.
The media has illustrated images of protesters and police without masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE). Masks should and must, be considered effective medical means. It is essential to disregard their limiting factors (such as the discomfort in using them for extensive periods of time or limiting some social behaviors), since their use (by 80% of the population) would determine a very significant reduction of the viral spread.
In the end, another consideration should take place, in regards to the clinical manifestation of COVID-19. It may resemble a weaker pathology, less aggressive than in past months. However, here as well, the variation is due more to the clinical population than the virus itself. First of all, the higher risk categories and the more exposed ones have been better protected. Further, in record time, science has brought much improved guidelines as to how to treat the disease. We have thus moved from a “medicine of wartime” to a “more standardized medicine”. Therefore, this shift in the clinical population should not lead us to be misled; we all hope for a rapid mutation of the virus, however until not proven, it is morally correct to avoid behaviors that we have witnessed in the past few days.