De Blasio Tells Covid Contract Tracers Not to Ask Positive Cases If They’ve Attended BLM Protests

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New York City mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at a news briefing at City Hall in New York City, March 14, 2020. (Eduardo Munoz / Reuters)

New York City’s coronavirus contact-tracing force are not asking those who test positive for COVID-19 whether they recently attended a Black Lives Matter demonstration, a city spokesperson confirmed.

New York City’s coronavirus contact-tracing force are not asking those who test positive for COVID-19 whether they recently attended a Black Lives Matter demonstration, a city spokesperson confirmed.

“No person will be asked proactively if they attended a protest,” Avery Cohen, a spokesperson for de Blasio, told THE CITY about the directive. “If a person wants to proactively offer that information, there is an opportunity for them to do so.”

Tracers are supposed to ask those who test positive for Covid-19 to “recall ‘contacts’ and individuals they may have exposed,” Cohen explained. Tracers also probe for any “close contacts” of the patient — anyone that has been within six feet of the infected person for at least 10 minutes.

New York City officials have taken a soft stance over fears that mass protests could lead to a spike in coronavirus cases. “Let’s be clear about something: if there is a spike in coronavirus cases in the next two weeks, don’t blame the protesters. Blame racism,” Mark Levine, head of the city council’s health committee, tweeted earlier this month.

The mayor, whose daughter was arrested during a Manhattan protest over the death of George Floyd, is facing a lawsuit from Catholics and Jews for violating the constitutional rights of religious New Yorkers by placing restrictions on religious services.

So far, the city has not seen a significant spike since the protests, as some had feared, which experts have attributed to a high percentage of mask usage among participants and the open air.

But both City Council members and health professionals said that the question should still be asked.

“I understand that they . . . may be concerned that asking someone if they’ve gone to a protest could make people distrustful,” said Stephen Levin (D-Brooklyn). “I think it should come up in the course of conversation.”

Added Dr. Jake Deutsch, the cofounder and clinical director of the city’s Cure Urgent Care centers, “It would make logical sense that would be something to include if you were doing a survey to determine risk.

“It is certainly something everyone should be thinking about.”

(National Review and New York Post).

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