How to cover coronavirus and community concerns

Social distancing during protest
Officials advise sticking to health guidelines during protests. (Public Health – Seattle & King County Graphic)

Public health officials for Seattle and King County today acknowledged the seriousness of the crisis sparked by last week’s killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other confrontations across the country — and said the continuing coronavirus pandemic is making the situation more difficult.

“We understand the difficult choices that people were faced with this past weekend,” Public Health – Seattle & King County said today in a blog posting. “Many in our community grappled with attending protests to stand up against these injustices while also wanting to keep our community safe from further spread of COVID-19.”

Officials urged residents to stick with the guidelines that they’ve been recommending for months, including the advice to wear face coverings, stay at least 6 feet away from others, and avoid large gatherings if you’re ill.

“Outdoor gatherings are lower risk than indoor gatherings,” the public health agency said in its Q&A. “The larger the gathering, and the longer you’re there, the higher the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.”

The agency said you should also “do your best to avoid situations where people are shouting or singing, as these activities can spread more virus into the air.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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