Will the protests spark a second COVID-19 outbreak?

“It’s pretty likely,” said Dr. Brittany Kmush, an assistant professor at Syracuse University who specializes in epidemiology, global health, and infectious diseases. But it’s “hard to predict” what areas might see the worst spikes in the next several weeks because there’s no historical precedent for mass civil unrest in the midst of a global pandemic. However, there are several factors that might help to prepare public health departments, Kmush told The Daily Beast.

Authorities should watch those areas with the longest lasting protests, said Kmush, in addition to those with the most participants, shouting or singing, physical contact, and travel.

“Whenever you have a big gathering of people, that’s the catalyst,” said Kmush. “If you have one person who is incubating or sick, they can spread it to quite a few other people.”

But protesters have said time and again in interviews that they understand the gamble they’re making.