Scenes of thousands marching in Chicago in a joint ‘Pride’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ parade have raised questions about double standards in reporting and enforcing social distancing rules amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Even though Chicago’s annual Pride Parade was officially canceled due to Covid-19 concerns, massive crowds gathered on Sunday in the Lakeview neighborhood and marched uptown to “reclaim Pride.”
Aerial footage of the packed event has drawn much criticism from those opposing the harsh lockdown measures and the apparent double standards in enforcing them. Local authorities and mainstream media were blasted for ignoring or even “encouraging” particular gatherings, while painting the rest as a dangerous breach of social distancing rules.
Some hit back at the critics, insisting that the law-abiding participants of the march were all wearing masks, and arguing that the risk of contracting the virus outdoors is much lower.
Crowded mass protests against racism and police brutality sparked in hundreds of cities by the death of George Floyd may play a role in the recent jump in cases, with demonstrators largely defying social distancing guidelines.
Media coverage of the rise in infections, however, has focused almost exclusively on those gathering at bars and beaches (as well as Trump rallies and anti-lockdown protests), while virtually ignoring the massive BLM marches as a potential factor.
Though the recent rise can be explained in part by increased testing for the virus, some health experts say it does not fully account for the spike, arguing that the outbreaks are accelerating.
To date, the virus has killed over 125,000 people in the US, roughly a quarter of the global death toll of 500,000, and there are fears that the spike in new infections could undo the falling trend in fatalities.