Thousands of protesters who marched across New York City over the past week should get tested for COVID-19 and take extra precautions as the five boroughs start to reopen, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.
“We are concerned that those protests may have increased the spread of the virus,” Cuomo said during his June 7 press conference in Albany. The remarks came on the eve of New York City launching into the first phase of reopening after three months of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s still unclear if the George Floyd protests would have a negative impact on the COVID-19 situation in New York state. Plenty of marchers wore masks at the gatherings, but crowding occurred naturally at the majority of the protests. The incubation period for COVID-19 can last up to two weeks.
To help prevent a second wave of infection, Cuomo said that 35,000 COVID-19 tests would be completed in New York City each day going forward. The state will monitor the results on a daily basis to watch for trends and, if necessary, take action to stop any spread.
The governor also had some advice for protesters: Get tested, and presume that you were exposed to COVID-19 to protect your family and friends, until proven otherwise.
Meanwhile, New York state continues to see fewer COVID-19 cases each day. Of the 65,000 COVID-19 test results recorded Saturday, just 781 of them came back positive — 1.2% of the tests conducted.
The virus remains a deadly threat, of course. Forty-five New Yorkers died of coronavirus on June 6, though that number is significantly lower than the peak of the crisis in April, where upwards of 800 people across the state died of the illness each day.
This story first appeared on amny.com.