Safe Protesting During COVID19
Around the country, we have noticed hundreds of thousands of people flooding the streets to hold protests as the pandemic continues to rage. Several experts have repeatedly said that the nationwide protests could plausibly enhance the spread of Covid19. Participants in the protests should recognize that by coming together, there is a potential risk of acquiring the virus. Individuals should take into consideration the risks associated with the virus, they should arm up against the risks and only then decide to proceed with the participation in the protests. We recognize that people desire to bring about a social change, but this may be done while balancing Covid19 concerns. We support every individual’s right to hold protests and there are some safeguards which need to be kept in mind to keep the communities safe and protected from the Covid19.
Precautionary Measures to be Undertaken :
Before The Protest
You should avoid going for any protests, if you have active respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath or fever or have recently been exposed to a close contact who had been tested positive. It is not advisable to not attend any protests if you are not feeling well. Public health experts and protest organizers have shared this repeatedly, emphasizing that going out when you're sick puts others at risk.
If you are above 65 years of age or pregnant, it is better if you stay at home.
It is important to get tested before going to the protest. Further, avoiding close contacts for 15 days before the day of protest is necessary.
Before going, ensure that you have packed a face mask, a hand sanitizer, eye protection such as goggles or face shields and plenty of water. If possible, a small first aid kit should also be carried.
When at the Protest
Keep a safe distance from everyone: Covid19 is easily transmitted indoors, therefore, it is advisable to hold protests in open grounds but while in a crowd. Further, try to keep yourself physically distanced, at least 6 feet, from other groups of protestors as much as you can.
Limit physical contact by avoiding to shake hands or giving high fives.
Limit your time outside.
Wear a mask: The correct way to wear a mask is by keeping mouth and nose covered at all times. You should also encourage other protesters to do the same.
Avoid interacting at close range: Be conscious of the direction you speak, and do not remove your mask while speaking.
You can carry a spare mask in case you or someone else in your group may feel a need to replace one after being exposed for a long duration.
Use noisemakers, drums and written signs: When people are shouting they tend to use more oxygen, so you breathe more heavily and increase your air exchange to compensate which can spread the virus particles much farther than six feet. So, the protesters can use noisemakers and drums and written signs to convey their opinions.
Avoid makeup or lotion and contact lenses: Oil or water-based lotions and makeup tend to trap dust particles which may sit on your skin and spread the virus. It is therefore advisable to use a scarf like clothing to protect your skin from the sun. Further, Contact lenses can trap irritating particles therefore you can replace those with spectacles.
After The Protest:
It is advisable to change your clothes as soon as possible, it is better if you take a shower first.
On coming back from the protests, it is important to disinfect your belongings.
Maintaining close contacts with people in your house and social circle will increase the risk for them. Therefore, 14 days of social distancing should be followed after the protest.
The best thing to be sure that you don’t have Covid19 is to get tested as well.
During this time, you also need to take care of your mental health.
Remember that even if you are feeling healthy, you could be spreading the virus as not everyone shows the symptoms of this virus. Therefore, protesting and showing disapproval towards institutions during our new usual should be done by considering the above mentioned safe steps that do not cause any harm to society.
by - Kosuri Ramadevi
graphic by - Niharika Suri