Members of the Washington, D.C., National Guard have tested positive for coronavirus after they responded to massive demonstrations sparked by the killing of George Floyd, a spokeswoman confirmed on Tuesday.
“We can confirm that we have had COVID-19 positive tests with the DCNG,” D.C. National Guard spokeswoman Air Force Lt. Col. Brooke Davis said in a statement. “The safety and security of our personnel is always a concern, especially in light of the COVID-19 era.”
Davis did not clarify how many guardsmen had tested positive. The D.C. National Guard was deployed on May 31 after George Floyd demonstrations descended into rioting, and have guarded national monuments and overseen subsequent protests.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Sunday that he is concerned that the mass demonstrations across major cities could spark new coronavirus outbreaks.
“As I sat in front of the TV and watched the screen go from Washington, D.C., to New York City, to Los Angeles, to Philadelphia, I got really concerned,” Fauci told the Times of London. “I was going, ‘Oh my goodness. I hope this doesn’t set us back a lot.’ [After] all of the work in trying to maintain the physical distance and doing all the things, I became very concerned that we might see a resurgence.”
The demonstrations have engulfed major American cities including New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Protesters often do not practice social distancing, and the demonstrations have devolved into riots in many instances.