The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every corner of the world, including Israel. As a pandemic took root in nearly every developed country, most epidemiologists have been clear and what they say needs to be done to fight the virus. In addition to aggressive testing and contact racing, most public health officials have stated that there should be no in-person religious services, no visiting sick relatives in the hospital, no students in classrooms, and no large gatherings. Initially, Israel did very well. In fact, some of the government officials even declared victory. Then, everything shifted when the country reopened too quickly. Now, Israel has the leading number of cases per capita in the world. People are starting to protest for a variety of reasons.
Therefore, many people are wondering if these protests are safe. Do protests spread the coronavirus? In general, protests against lockdown measures have been frowned upon. At the same time, social justice movements, particularly targeting racial Injustice and police brutality, have largely been praised. What do experts have to say about these demonstrations? How do they impact the spread of the Coronavirus?
Anti-Lockdown Protests Are Making It Worse
In Israel, there has been a long string of protests against the restrictive lockdown measures. When people are protesting lockdown measures, they’re also protesting other restrictive measures, such as wearing masks. As a result, protests against lockdown measures (where they do not wear masks) are more likely to spread the virus than protests that have to do with social justice, such as the protests that have been taking place in North America, particularly the United States.
Even though neither of these protest movements tends to respect social distancing guidelines, it is still important for people to do everything they can to keep themselves safe. Regardless of how people feel, epidemiologists and public health officials agree that there is no way they could have possibly stopped such passionate protesters. Therefore, those who are protesting the lockdown measures in Israel must still follow the guidelines of public health officials. When anti-lockdown protests do not wear masks, they are only making the lockdown measures worse by spreading the virus.
Tightening the Lockdown Measures for Holidays in Israel
Benjamin Netanyahu recently said that the country is on “the edge of the abyss.” Therefore, he responded by tightening the lockdown measures as the Jewish community approaches the High Holy Days. Outdoor gatherings have been limited to only 20 people while individuals are not allowed to travel any further than 1,000 meters from their homes. These measures have come in response to one of the worst outbreaks of coronavirus in the world, likely spread by protesters who continue to go out without masks.
While these lockdown measures are not going to fix the issues that Israel has developed overnight, it is still important for the government and public health officials to communicate to everyone why these measures have been put in place. As long as people continue to ignore social distancing, masks, handwashing, and quarantine regulations, the virus will continue to spread, making the problems in Israel worse.
What Should Be Done?
Without a doubt, it is clear that many people are conflicted. While some public health officials support some of the protests, they find it hard to support social justice protests while condemning other protests. Therefore, many people are wondering what should be done right now. The reality is that people are going to continue to protest. With this in mind, it is important that everyone does so responsibly. Spreading the word about racial injustice is important; however, it is also important to spread the word about the pandemic to ensure that people who protest do so safely.
Looking to the Future
Nobody is going to argue against movements that promote racial Injustice. At the same time, it is always important to take a look at how these events are being handled. It is important to balance social justice movements with battling against a pandemic that is still prevalent, still deadly, and is going to remain both of these things until a vaccine is in place. One thing is certain: when people are protesting, they should make sure to wear masks, wash their hands regularly, and try to social distance as much as possible.