Demonstrators protesting the police-related death of George Floyd stand with fists raised outside the burning Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct on May 28. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Demonstrators protesting the police-related death of George Floyd stand with fists raised outside the burning Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct on May 28. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Protests around the country over the death of George Floyd may drastically hinder the efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., health experts say.

Dr. Katie Passaretti, medical director for infection prevention at Atrium Health in Charlotte, N.C., said it has unnerved her see to large gatherings of people who are lax in practicing social distancing and wearing face masks.

“It makes me cringe on a number of levels,” Passaretti said, NBC News reported. “It’s a setup for further spread of COVID-19. It is heartbreaking.”

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former chief of the Food and Drug Administration, warned that the U.S. “isn’t through this epidemic.”

“Chains of transmission will have become lit from these gatherings,” Gottlieb said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis, died May 25 when a white police officer pinned him to the pavement with a knee on his neck.

The incident, which was captured by an onlooker in a viral video, has sparked outrage and protests nationwide, some of which have resulted in violence.

The coronavirus has infected roughly 1.8 million in the U.S. as of Monday, 105,000 of whom have died.

Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of the D.C. Department of Health, concurred with Passaretti and Gottlieb.

“We in D.C. are in the phased reopening of the city and mass gatherings are not supported at this time,” Nesbitt said at a news conference Monday. “There are some people who are not properly practicing social distancing. They should be practicing hand hygiene and sanitation to fight the spread of COVID-19.”

James Wright Jr.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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