Why Wearing A Face Mask During #blacklivesmatters Protest Is Important!


Black Lives Matters Protests continue throughout the country and the world to call out systemic racism and the deaths of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

Atlanta man Rayshard Brooks represents the latest death of an African American in police hands to spark social outcry. The 27-year-old was fatally shot June 12 night at a Wendy's drive-through. It's been three weeks since protests across the United States began, following the death of George Floyd on May 25. 

Since then it is understandable that hundreds of thousands of people all over the world have gathered in outrage over acts of racial discrimination and police brutality, from London and Cape Town to Sydney, Tokyo and Paris. But why is wearing a face mask during black lives matters protests so important? 


Why Wearing A Face Mask during #blacklivesmatters protest is important!

To better prepare yourself for protests, here's how to protect yourself while protesting during the coronavirus pandemic and what to do if you are exposed to tear gas while protesting.

Black Lives Matter. Visit blacklivesmatter.carrd.co to learn how to donate, sign petitions and protest safely.

  • The current news has eclipsed it, but the COVID-19 pandemic is still an ongoing emergency.
  • Following physical distancing guidelines and wearing a mask are essential to reduce the risk of infection.
  • StudiesTrusted Source confirm that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, spreads from person to person mainly through respiratory droplets created when someone with an infection coughs, sneezes, or talks.

All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date. 

Massive protests are sweeping across the United States following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, fueling fears that large crowds will lead to surging cases of COVID-19.

“We need the help of everyone involved to prevent additional suffering and preventable death by following the public health guidelines to limit COVID-19 spread,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm in a statement.

Since Floyd’s death, thousands of people have attended rallies and demonstrations in Minneapolis, with others springing up across the United States in major cities, including Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

The current news has eclipsed it, but the COVID-19 pandemic is still an ongoing emergency. And while some states have relaxed restrictions on movement and nonessential business, the risk of infection is still a very real danger.

Following physical distancing guidelines and wearing a mask are essential to reduce the risk of infection.

“People should wear a proper-fitting mask that’s snug and secure and keep it on at all times. Some other cloth face mask tips include multiple layers of fabric, no restricted breathing, wash hands after use, and machine wash routinely,” Dr. Nikhil Bhayani, an infectious disease physician with DFW Infectious Diseases PLLC and Texas Health Alliance, told Healthline.

StudiesTrusted Source confirm that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, spreads from person to person mainly through respiratory droplets created when someone with an infection coughs, sneezes, or talks.

These droplets may land in the mouths or noses of nearby people, or be inhaled into the lungs, where the virus can proliferate.

There are two ways to reduce this risk: physical distancing and wearing a face mask.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source recommends people wear cloth masks when in public spaces where physical distancing measures “are difficult to maintain.”

The CDC specifies this includes locations like grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations. But for people who are demonstrating outdoors, face masks may still offer a significant level of protection.

In contrast, according to the CDCTrusted Source, physical distancing “means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home.”

The CDC further recommends maintaining at least 6 feet (2 meters) between yourself and others.

Until you get through this, count on our support

In difficult times, you need to be able to turn to experts who understand and can help strengthen your mental well-being. We’re here for you.

Physical distancing recommendations and mask use have helped flatten the curve of new infections. But if previous pandemics are any indication of what to expect, what we’ve seen so far may only be the beginning.

Pandemics may return in waves.

“When we speak about a second wave, classically what we often mean is there will be a first wave of the disease by itself, and then it recurs months later. And that may be a reality for many countries in a number of months’ time,” Dr. Mike Ryan, World Health Organization (WHO) emergencies head, said in a statement.

Ryan explained that epidemics often come in waves, meaning that outbreaks could come back later this year in places where the first wave has subsided.

And he cautioned there’s a chance infection rates could rise again if measures to halt the first wave are lifted too soon.

According to Bhayani, a superspreader event is any mass public event where hundreds of attendees can infect themselves in the space of a few hours.

“Banning a ‘superspreader’ event and/or wearing face masks might slow down the pace of COVID-19 progression to a manageable level,” he said.

However, banning the current demonstrations isn’t only counter to the free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, it’s also very unlikely any such attempts will be successful, given the difficult circumstances.

Additionally, experts have found that being outside appears to drastically lessen the risk of spreading COVID-19. Some officials have even published info on how to protest and protect yourself from disease.

The California Department of Public Health recently released guidelines for protesting safely during the pandemic.

Regardless, experts believe these demonstrations will have severe consequences for the nation’s health.

“There’s going to be a lot of issues coming out of what’s happened in the last week, but one of them is going to be that chains of transmission will have become lit from these gatherings,” former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CBS News.

A perspective article recently published in Emerging Infectious Diseases emphasizes that healthcare facilities are critical for prevention and control of superspreader events.

“Targeted control measures include rapid identification and isolation of all potentially infectious patients,” the authors wrote.

They conclude that “surveillance and focused response efforts” should prioritize environments at high risk for superspreader events, which includes sites of mass gatherings.

Recent mass protests have eclipsed efforts to reduce COVID-19 infection risk, but wearing face masks and practicing physical distancing as much as possible may still reduce the rate of infection — even during this period of social unrest.

Experts emphasize the danger of a second wave of infections, something already seen with previous pandemics. They also believe there will be long-term effects from these mass gatherings across the United States.

The danger of superspreader events associated with protests means health officials must be prepared to move rapidly to identify people who have an infection and isolate them to prevent COVID-19 spread.


In the US, protesting is a personal choice and a legal right granted by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Remember that:

  • You have rights as a protester, but there are also limits. Here's what you can and cannot do under the law.
  • Many protests are organized with the knowledge and support of local city councils and law enforcement authorities.
  • We're still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, so it's best to protect yourself by wearing a face mask, bringing hand sanitizer and refraining from high-fives, handshakes, hugging and kissing.
  • Some areas have imposed a curfew, though these seem to be easing. As breaking curfew is illegal, CNET encourages you to follow local laws.

Here are additional ways to support the Black Lives Matters movement year-round, and resources to help educate yourself about antiracism and systemic prejudice.

Search Facebook groups and events

You may have already seen protests going in your city on Facebook. But if you haven't, search for "Black Lives Matter" or "George Floyd" in the Groups tab to see if there's something happening in your area. If you don't see a set date or time a march or protest is taking place, reach out to the group to get more information. You can also check out the Funders for Justice, a network of funders that addresses racial justice, policing and more.

Another option is to check out the Events tab and select Causes (make sure the location is correct). Some examples of events that are in my area are University of Louisville March for Black Lives and Freedom Fridays. The events usually have a scheduled date and time to meet up.Many protest organizers who are using Twitter to post about their causes update their timelines frequently, so it's a good resource to find more information on the next event in your area. Start by hashtagging the city you live in. For example, #Louisville or #SanFrancisco. You may even notice hashtags like #LouisvilleProtests that give you more information, and where you can ask questions if you can't find the details you're looking for.

Contact the local Black Lives Matter group in your area

To find a local Black Lives Matter chapter in your area, visit BlackLivesMatter.com and select Chapters. If there's not one near you, try reaching out for more information on what you can do in your community to help. 

Check out Nextdoor

Nextdoor lets you see events and other information that's happening in your neighborhood -- you will need to sign up for a free account. Once you have one, you can post messages asking about local protests, or you can search for other discussions.