I’m of course concerned about the protests contributing to epidemic resurgence of #COVID19. They are outside, but close contact and large crowds are risk factors and if they continue day after day with the same group of people you risk amplification. 1/8
We’ll be able to measure this to some degree by looking for increasing case counts in counties with sustained protests and by looking for increased case counts in younger demographic. 2/8
But this may very well be confounded with transmission in these counties linked to arrests as @zeynep mentions here. 3/8
zeynep tufekci (@zeynep):
About the the risk of COVID from the protests. Please note that, to date, there are very few known cases of outdoor transmission at all, but crowding 100 people into an indoors space overnight? Yes, that’s how you get a spike. Jails and detention, not protesting, is the big risk. https://t.co/jKDmwMHwkX
And everything is playing out on a background of increased mobility as cities and states open up. Figure from https://www.apple.com/covid19/mobility. 4/8
I’m not a trained epidemiologist, but I’d think the best way to address this is to have public health across the country ask “have you attended a protest” during case investigation phone calls following up with positive cases. 5/8
This should (once controlling for confounding variables) give a direct estimate of the increase in exposure risk from attending a protest. 6/8
Questions about travel, workplace, community or social event, etc… are standard practice in case investigation (see excellent overview by @CDCgov (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/contact-tracing/contact-tracing-plan/overview.html) 7/8
However, I haven’t seen sharing of large-scale deidentified datasets of these case investigations with general risk factors. I’m more familiar with more detailed outbreak investigations in the published literature. 8/8
Follow up: Multiple people have pointed out the risk of answering this question truthfully. I don’t know how to make this safe to answer. We want to know if the activity is dangerous from a public health perspective. But absolutely don’t want to add risk for those protesting.
I like this idea
Rebekah L. Rogers (@evolscientist):
@trvrb It might be possible to ask a more general question: Were you recently at an event with more than 50 people in close proximity. That’s the real question for epidemiology in any case.
It would also capture social events and vacation spots.
Another clever idea to help preserve anonymity
@trvrb I think you’d want to use this: https://t.co/c2TaadqaX8