In cities, a dramatic end to social distancing

She had tried to maintain her distance from other protesters, but now that was impossible. The solidarity of a mass demonstration had given way to the intimacy of a makeshift bunker. There protesters, who were “mostly black and brown people,” wanted to console each other, says Lane. There were a lot of hugs.

“When we were stuck in the house, I was like, I guess it’s all a wash from here,” says Lane, 34. “I’ve been trapped in [my] house for months, and now I’m out here protesting people dying, and I might die of covid.”…

“If you told me in February that in the next three months I was going to see no strangers whatsoever, and then my first intimate contact with strangers would be in the back of a prison bus, I’m not sure what I would have said,” says Jackson Loop, a 28-year-old Californian.

Loop was arrested for violating curfew at a downtown Los Angeles protest on the first day of June. He ended up on the bus with about 40 other protesters. Some were wearing masks, some were not. Loop’s mask had slipped down during his arrest, and he could not fix it while handcuffed. They were unloaded at UCLA’s Jackie Robinson Stadium — which, before it became a temporary processing center for protest arrestees, was a coronavirus testing site. “The irony,” he says, “was not lost on us.”