Politics

People Keep Trying To Blame Black Lives Matter Protests For Melbourne’s Coronavirus Spike

"That is simply not the evidence. These are dangerous comments which distract from the real source/causes."

greg hunt

Almost three weeks ago, thousands of Australians marched through the streets in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Huge numbers gathered in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Darwin; other protests took place in smaller cities like Newcastle, Innisfail and Rockhampton.

Since then, the number of coronavirus cases in the country have remained pretty much stable — except for Victoria.

In the last week Melbourne has recorded a huge spike in the number of coronavirus cases, with the number of infections increasing by double-digits for nine days in a row now. Today they recorded 33 new cases,

Melbourne also hosted a Black Lives Matter protest, and since then the media and politicians have been scrambling to connect the two events.

That’s despite state and federal health experts flat out denying any link.

People Quick To Blame Protesters

Yesterday, Health Minister Greg Hunt tried to blame the protests for a spike in Melbourne’s COVID-19 cases.

Four protesters have tested positive to coronavirus since Melbourne’s June 6 rally.

Only days before, the state had eased restrictions to allow 20 people to gather indoors and outdoors.

“We know that there are four cases directly linked with that protest, but we also believe that there has been a significant relaxation in parts of the public as a consequence of the double standard,” Hunt said.

He says the protests undermined the government’s social distancing message.

“Particularly since the protests, many Victorians and many Australians have said, ‘if it is OK for 10,000 people to congregate and huddle together, surely it would be OK for 10 and my family’,” Hunt said.

“The message is, it was never OK for that protest to have gone ahead, not because of the subject matter — noble, powerful, important — but because of the fact that two and a half weeks later, we have had an outbreak in Victoria.”

So, basically, even though there was no large transmission as a result of this event, protesters are now being blamed for the actions of non-protesters.

Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton has shot down any suggestion the protests had an impact on their spike.

“I don’t think the Black Lives Matter protest has contributed. We’re not seeing people who’ve clearly acquired it there,” he said.

Australia’s chief medial officer Brendan Murphy also ruled it out, although did concede the gatherings may have set a bad example.

“We probably were lucky to have not seen major transmission at any of these events,” he said.