New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reiterated that he “stands with protesters” demonstrating in the wake of the death of George Floyd, though he now wants them to get tested for novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
During his daily COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, June 4 in Albany, Cuomo warned that there could be a potential rise in cases in protesters who could unknowingly be “super spreaders” for the virus.
It is estimated that there were approximately 30,000 protesters throughout the state, including 20,000 in New York City and 1,000 on Long Island.
The state is expanding COVID-19 testing criteria to include any individual who attended any of the recent protests across the state.
More information on where and how to get a free test for COVID-19 is available at coronavirus.health.ny.gov.
“Protesters could compound things, so if you were at a protest, go get a test please,” he said. “Go to the website, we have 700 (testing) sites, and get a test … get a test … get a test. Protesters have a civic duty here.”
Cuomo encouraged continued peaceful protests, but said that those rallying should do so safely by wearing face coverings, socially distancing when possible, and advising anyone they come into contact with that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.
“If you were at one of these protests, I would, out of an abundance of caution, assume you were infected and tell people when you go home,” he said. “Tell people that you may have been exposed and act like you may have been exposed … because you very well may have been exposed.
“If you’re not worried about yourself, that’s a different conversation,” he added. “Worry about your grandfather, your grandmother, your parents, uncles, aunts … they can all die from this virus.”
- Earlier story - COVID-19: Here's Percentage Testing Positive On Long Island, NYC Compared To Six Weeks Ago
Cuomo also cautioned that protesters who may have been exposed to COVID-19 at rallies also pose an additional threat because symptoms of the virus may not manifest for several days, meaning there could be a lag in reported cases.
“If someone is infected today, they might not show symptoms for four or five days,” Cuomo said. “And if it’s serious, someone could be hospitalized in eight to 12 days. You’ve seen the difference in the numbers. Two weeks in the numbers is a lifetime.
“If you had the virus spread through these protests, you won’t see it in the numbers for a while,” he added. “In the meantime, we’re making decisions about opening up, so it’s important that people act responsibly for themselves, and more importantly, others.”
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