Anti-lockdown protesters in the US could be spreading coronavirus, according to newly released cellphone data.
Mobile phone location data, provided to The Guardian by campaign group Committee to Protect Medicare, has shown that many protest participants had travelled hundreds of miles to reach their protest. Some had come from other states, or from far-flung corners of their own.
The obvious concern is that the protesters are congregating with little concern for social distancing, before travelling around the country. It’s possible they could be taking the virus to areas of the country that previously had very few cases.
After the infamous April 30 protest in Michigan – in which protesters stormed the state capitol building with firearms – location data showed that the protesters had come from every corner of the state, including Detroit and many small, remote towns in northern Michigan. Some devices were shown to have crossed the state border into Indiana.
Dr Rob Davidson from Committee to Protect Medicare told The Guardian: “The behavior we’re seeing at protests carries a high risk of infection. We can see protesters are going from a highly concentrated event and then dispersing widely.”
Lockdown conditions are clearly not the way most of us want to live, but the daily death toll of Covid-19 is still incredibly high.
The alarming findings in the location data from these mobile devices shows that lockdown protesters in the US could be actively putting lives at risk in order to make their feelings known.
Unfortunately, the anti-lockdown protests appear to be catching on. One was held in London’s Hyde Park over the weekend, and it’s possible that it could have the same effects.