HOUSTON, TEXAS – The Houston Chronicle has reported that there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases among police officers and protesters since the May 30th George Floyd protests, contradicting accounts from governors in states such as New York and New Jersey who claim those peaceful protests were not mitigating factors in the recent spike in COVID-19.
Since June 6th, at least 23 offices have tested positive for COVID-19, the Chronicle reported. That is more than 1/3 of the total police officer caseload since the pandemic began in March.
Today, the Houston Fire Department has 186 firefighters in quarantine and the city has seen a steady flow of 800 to 1,000 new cases each day, according to KHOU-11. Harris County Texas has issued a LEVEL-1 Red Alert to the city, warning residents to stay indoors as local hospitals are reaching capacity. 146 police officers are now in quarantine.
“This virus is out of control in Houston,” said Marvin Odum, Houston’s COVID-19 Recovery Czar. “If we don’t get it under control, very bad things will happen.”
“This is very real,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “This is a healthcare crisis.”
The city of Houston said the increase has nothing to do with the protests, but more to do with reopening bars and restaurants.
Since the George Floyd protests in New Jersey, this state has also seen an uptick in COVID-19 infections among younger adults, but Governor Phil Murphy also blames the infection increase on young adults at bars, beaches and parties not social distancing and wearing PPE.
A recent spike in cases of COVID-19 among younger New Jerseyans has caught the attention of Governor Phil Murphy and state health chief, Judith Persichilli. When asked if that spike has any correlation with Black Lives Matter protests or the George Floyd riots, Murphy declined.
“I don’t think there’s any evidence we have that the George Floyd related protests have led to this. I’m not aware of any evidence. I’m far more convinced that this is intensely close proximity, indoor realities,” Murphy said,
“We are especially concerned after gatherings we saw over the weekend at the Jersey Shore and another bar in northern New Jersey,” she said. “Individuals were packed together at these locations, which raises the risk of spreading COVID-19 to one another, and then on to a wider community. People of any age can get severe illness from COVID-19. More than 640 residents between the ages of 18 and 29 have been hospitalized because of complications from this virus, and there have been more than 15 deaths among this age group.”
“The flare ups of late have been skewed toward two realities: younger folks and indoors,” Murphy said. “There’s very little, I think, that we’re hearing that’s coming outdoors. That’s not to say it can’t happen, but when you’re looking at the flare ups, and New Jersey now is no exception in terms of both our concern and our caution about how we want to responsibly reopen things that are inside, but also today to Judy’s point about young folks, no one’s invincible. “