Excerpted from The Seattle Times by Hal Bernton

Spring brought a wave of cancellations that shut down professional baseball, basketball, concerts, movie theaters, youth sports, school plays, camping in state parks and all sorts of other events to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Then, on May 25, came the brutal death of George Floyd as a Minneapolis police officer held a knee to his neck, an act of violence that set off large protests in a powerful grassroots justice movement that also unfolded as a kind of mass experiment about the risks of such outdoor gatherings amid a global pandemic.

More than one month after Floyd’s death, the number of COVID-19 cases is rising in some parts of Washington state, including the Seattle area, and the national tally of new cases last week reached all-time highs.

But some researchers say that the protests do not appear to be significantly driving this surge. This helps bolster the case that the coronavirus generally does not transmit as easily outdoors, where even a gentle breeze can help diffuse the virus, compared to confined indoor spaces.
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