NBC medical contributor Dr. Vin Gupta said that ongoing protests sparked by the death of George Floyd would inevitably cause an “increase” in coronavirus cases and even “stress our healthcare system,” but should continue.
Citing the fact that bailout money for hospitals “hasn’t gone to the right purposes,” Gupta argued that, from a healthcare provider perspective, not “a lot has fundamentally changed” regarding hospital bed capacity and the availability of healthcare providers in case there is a surge.
“In places like California, Minnesota, Texas, where cases are rising, if we get this wrong, it’s not like we have more ICU doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists to save the day,” he said. “We don’t even have enough beds. So what’s fundamentally changed? I don’t really know.”
“Well I think to be fair one of the things that changed is the tens of thousands of protesters saw this moment as I know you did too as a moment not to be passed over,” Wallace responded before asking for advice for people “planning on heading out this afternoon.”
“Can you speak directly to people who maybe see the pandemic as dire as you do but see this moment for social justice reform as more urgent?” Wallace asked.
Gupta suggested demonstrators bring hand sanitizer, wear masks, social distance when possible, and “do it safely.” (RELATED: ‘This Is A Sham’: Tucker Blasts Health Care Professionals Who Signed Letter Exempting George Floyd Protests From Coronavirus Restrictions)
“We want as much as anything for social justice to take center stage, because poverty, racism, they have actually bigger killers than coronavirus by the statistics, so this is the right thing to do but to do it safely,” he said.
“I will say, should all expect that cases are gonna rise,” Gupta concluded after explaining that cases rose in Germany when people went to a carnival. “We should expect an increase in cases and it’s gonna stress our healthcare system. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be out there protesting.”