Poll: 86% of Americans Say Mass Protests Carry Risk to Health in Coronavirus Era

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File

Most Americans believe large protests and demonstrations carry the greatest risk to health in terms of resuming everyday activities in the era of the novel coronavirus, an Axios-Ipsos poll released Tuesday revealed.

The Axios/Ipsos poll surveyed 1,006 U.S. adults between June 5 and June 8 and provided them with a list of activities, asking, “How much of a risk to your health and well-being do you think the following activities are?”

An overwhelming majority of Americans, 86 percent, said that protests and demonstrations carry a large or moderate risk, followed by dining in restaurants (60 percent); going to salons, barbershops, and spas (54 percent); and shopping at retail stores (52 percent). Fifty-three percent of Americans, however, said that there is either a small risk — or no risk — to heading back to work.

Axios notes that the findings are significant, as “more than one in 10 people surveyed has an immediate family member or close friend who’s participated — and 2% say they’ve taken part themselves.” This puts “tens of millions of people in close contact with protesters,” Axios reported.

The survey’s margin of error is +/- 3.3 percent.

The news comes as Democrat politicians, many of whom sharply criticized the Americans who begged them to lift severe lockdown orders, participate in what most Americans consider to be high-risk events.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D), for instance, faced immense backlash for refusing to quickly ease up his far-reaching lockdown orders, which prevented Pennsylvanians across several counties from resuming their everyday activities and returning to work as normal. He even lectured those clamoring to open last month in violation of his orders, suggesting that they — and business owners who desperately sought to reopen their businesses — were committing a “cowardly” act and “engaging in behavior that is both selfish and unsafe.” Wolf also threatened business owners with the loss of operational licenses.

Despite that, after weeks of warnings against large social gatherings, Wolf showed up to a protest in Harrisburg, closely marching alongside hundreds of protesters as Dauphin County remained in the yellow phase of reopening, prohibiting gatherings of over 25 people:

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine refused to condemn the governor for violating the state’s guidelines.

“The governor has always said that people have the right to protest and to demonstrate and the right of free speech,” Levine told reporters last week, explaining that they “are not restricting people’s right to protest.”

“There are obviously significant social issues, you know, that are present that people feel that they need to have a voice, and so the governor is always supportive of that and is participating in that,” Levine added.

Wolf admitted on Friday that it was “inconsistent” for him to participate in a large gathering after repeatedly telling Pennsylvanians to avoid such activities.

“That was inconsistent, I acknowledge that,” Wolf said.

“But I was trying to show support for a cause, the eradication of racism that I think is very, very important, and I was trying to show my support for that effort,” he added.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) have also been spotted among protesters over the last week:


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