Protests bring new concerns about the spread of COVID-19

TOLEDO (WTVG) - As large scale protests continue throughout the country, the balance between demonstrations and public health during a pandemic has become a delicate balance. Though many protesters continue to wear masks while out in public, others do not, and the recommended six feet of social distancing becomes nearly impossible with crowds gathered in public places.

At protests in Toledo over the weekend and into the early week, mask use was sporadic at best. A large gathering of UT students on Tuesday was a different story, however, as organizers encouraged everyone in attendance to wear personal protective equipment.

Elizabeth Heafey feels it’s very important for her daughter and her niece to stand up for what they believe in, however they have to do it safely, urging them to keep their masks over their noses and mouths and to maintain a safe distance from other protesters.

“Even though we are trying to fight for their rights and make sure that black people's voices are being heard and understood, we also want to make sure people are being safe," says Jocelyn Quon, co-organizer of Tuesday's event on Secor and Dorr.

“We are in that state where we still have COVID in the community,” says Toledo-Lucas County Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski. He stresses that COVID is still a very real threat, and going without a mask greatly increases your chances of getting the virus if you’re marching alongside someone with it.

“Wearing a mask could lower it by 80%," he says.