For the second time this year, the US unmistakably changed in just a few days. While COVID-19 dominated the national consciousness for the first half of 2020, this dramatically shifted when protestors across the US took to the streets in late May. While most of the rallies remained peaceful experts fear that they are distracting people from the risks of COVID-19 and serving as massive incubators for its spread.  The protests have occurred in over 1000 localities including every major city in the US. In most states, the national guard, a U.S. state-based army reserve force, has been called in to respond to the crisis. The massive protests are a particular risk for viruses spread because they bring a diverse set of people from different areas together participating in activities like shouting and chanting which can spread the virus. 
Figure 1: George Floyd Protests around the US
Source: USA Today 
These protests are also likely to also have a long term impact on viral transmission because of the number of consecutive days gone on. With the US unemployment rate triple its level in February and universities closed, many protestors have no immediate incentive to go home. Prior to the protests, social distancing had largely succeeded in flattened the transmission curve in the US. Protests exacerbate the complications of reopening the US economy in the middle of a global pandemic. Despite these states are unwilling to reimplement social distancing measures and are continuing to open up. Restaurants will open in New York for the first time since March.
On the positive side the reopening has done more to rejuvenate the economy than expected, with two and a half million jobs revived in the month of May. The quick job growth is a positive indication that the US economy is likely to have a quick V-shaped economic recovery rather than a long drawn out U-shaped one. While more jobs mean a better US and world economy more people going to work increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The speedy jobs recovery is also contributing to the growing sense among Americans that fewer precautions are required as life returns to normal. There is already tentative evidence that Americans are travelling more domestically. 
 Fox News. Stimson, B. (2020, June 07). Dr. Fauci says George Floyd protests provide ‘perfect recipe’ for new coronavirus surges. Retrieved June 09, 2020, from https://www.foxnews.com/health/dr-fauci-says-george-floyd-protests-provide-perfect-recipe-for-new-coronavirus-surges
 USA Today. Haseman, J., Zaiets, K., & Thorson, M. (2020, June 06). Tracking protests across the USA in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Retrieved June 09, 2020, from https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/graphics/2020/06/03/map-protests-wake-george-floyds-death/5310149002/
 Soucheray, S. (2020, May 13). Americans on the move as COVID-19 orders lift. CIDRAP. https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/05/americans-move-covid-19-orders-lift.