Protests, distrust hit COVID control

The rising number of protests and other mass gatherings is alarming health officials across the country because of the potential to spread the COVID-19 coronavirus. The other pivotal factor — distrust in government — has already hampered efforts to trace who all may be infected.

By

National News

June 1, 2020 - 9:38 AM

A protester is helped by others after Minneapolis police moved in with tear gas during a protest on Saturday in Minneapolis, Minn. Photo by Leila Navidi / Minneapolis Star Tribune / TNS

NEW YORK (AP) — Protests erupting across the nation over the past week — and law enforcement’s response to them — are threatening to upend efforts by health officials to track and contain the spread of coronavirus just as those efforts were finally getting underway.

Health experts need newly infected people to remember and recount everyone they’ve interacted with over several days in order to alert others who may have been exposed, and prevent them from spreading the disease further. But that process, known as contact tracing, relies on people knowing who they’ve been in contact with — a daunting task if they’ve been to a mass gathering.

And the process relies on something that may suddenly be in especially short supply: Trust in government.

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