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Protests haven’t driven up COVID-19 cases … yet

Protest march
Thousands of protesters take part in a “March of Silence” in Seattle on Friday afternoon, the vast majority wearing masks. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office says it’s seeing no evidence so far that protesters are testing positive for COVID-19 at higher rates than normal after attending protests.

In an online update, mayoral spokesperson Kamaria Hightower wrote that “results are in from UW Medicine, and out of 3,000 tests, fewer than 1% were positive.”

Hightower provided further detail in a follow-up email to GeekWire. “For the free citywide testing results, less than 1% have returned positive,” she wrote. “Individuals are not required to share their history of attending demonstrations; however, a field on the appointment software form does ask your reason for attending, and some have cited their reasoning as having attended a protest.”

For the past two weeks, demonstrators have been gathering in Seattle daily to protest police brutality in the wake of the May 25 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Thousands turned out today for a “March of Silence” from Seattle’s Central District to the Beacon Hill neighborhood.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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