The U.S. recorded its highest number of coronavirus cases in a single day on Wednesday, though deaths and death rates continue to fall. The data continued an upward trend that began earlier this month, and President Donald Trump’s critics have pounced on the news as evidence that he mismanaged the COVID-19 pandemic.
This graph might be the most damning data ever concerning Trump's leadership. We are a superpower, one of the richest countries in the world, with some of the best scientists, innovators, entrepreneurs, universities, army, government officials in the world. And yet … this: pic.twitter.com/4eo80nJYBR— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) June 24, 2020
But there is one thing the critics miss: the number of cases declined until early June, when the sudden spike appeared.
Some states began re-opening their economies in late April, and others gradually followed. Yet there were no major increases in cases during that period — only in early- to mid-June.
What else was going on in early June in the U.S.?
The rise in cases matches exactly what we would expect to see from the large Black Lives Matter protests that erupted across the nation. Tens of thousands of people marched in close quarters in city streets. Some wore masks, but there was scant attention paid to “social distancing.”
A month before, when business owners, church parishioners, and ordinary residents protested draconian shutdown rules, they were demonized by the media and accused of risking public health.
But when it came to the Black Lives Matter protests (or riots), Democrats and the media celebrated the crowds, praising them for their idealism. More than 1200 health professionals signed a letter declaring that racism was a greater public health risk than coronavirus, and that the protests were therefore essential.
Democrat mayors and governors who were (and are) still enforcing “social distancing” rules joined protests, often without masks, gratuitously breaking the rules.
Black Lives Matter protests possibly contributed to a spike in cases, with Los Angeles County — site of some of the largest protests and worst riots — reporting the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. on Wednesday.
In addition, the protests also signaled to other Americans that the rules simply did not matter — and that if they did matter, they were not going to be fairly enforced. After that, social discipline for “social distancing” became impossible.
The Black Lives Matter protests shattered national unity. They took a rare moment of agreement on the George Floyd killing — which everyone condemned — and turned it into a divisive confrontation over so-called “systemic racism.”
Likewise, the protests and riots broke the spirit of trust — fragile though it already was — necessary to endure the shared sacrifice of the shutdowns.
If you supported the Black Lives Matter protests, your COVID complaints are not credible.