CNN medical analyst Leana Wen told the network’s Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto on Thursday that Black Lives Matter protests are much safer than Trump rallies when it comes to COVID-19 transmission.
What are the details?
Wen — former Planned Parenthood president — told Harlow and Sciutto that most people at Black Lives Matter demonstrations wear masks when convening because they believe masks work in tamping down transmission of coronavirus.
She said that rallygoers, however, often go to such rallies “in defiance.”
Wen began, “I think it’s important for us as public health experts to lead with the science, and the science tells us that this is a virus that does not discriminate. It doesn’t care why it is that people are gathering, but it does care about the conditions under which they’re gathering. So, outdoors, much safer than indoors. Wearing masks, obviously much safer than not wearing masks.”
Wen explained that participants’ behaviors during and after protests versus rallies are especially important when it comes to analyzing the risk and cutting down on community spread.
“I also in this case would distinguish between the behavior of the participants while at protests versus rallies,” she said. “At protests, many people are aware of the risks and are doing everything they can to reduce that risk, versus at many of these rallies we’re seeing people going in defiance. It’s their behavior during those events.”
According to Newsbusters, Wen also admitted, “I also worry about what they do after the events. They may not be self-quarantining and testing … as they should be.”
The outlet added that Sciutto later asked Wen if she believed outdoor protests have led to outbreaks when compared to indoor rallies.
She responded by citing a June CNN study and said, “There was a study looking at over 300 cities where protests occurred, and they did not find surges of infections tied to the protests.”
Newsbusters’ Kristine Marsh points out, “Even Wen’s points are contradicted by CNN’s own reporting. CNN has bashed outdoor church gatherings several times. Trump was holding outdoor rallies this Summer and yet CNN still smeared them super spreader events. They didn’t talk this way about the BLM protests.”
Marsh adds, “What CNN correspondent Boris Sanchez said on August 28, reporting from the March on Washington was even worse. Despite tens of thousands of protesters packed tightly to listen to speakers, some without masks, Sanchez told Anderson Cooper that protesting was worth being exposed to the virus.”
Sanchez at the time told Cooper, “The concern is with so many people in such an enclosed space, it may be impossible to avoid this virus. What I’ve heard, speaking to demonstrators, is essentially the message of social justice outweighs any of the risks from this pandemic. It’s that important to them.”
Sciutto concluded the Thursday morning segment by thanking Wen for “breaking through the fog of confusion and disinformation to lead us back to the facts.”