Protestors rally in Minneapolis. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Health experts fear that massive protests against police brutality in major cities around the United States could result in new coronavirus outbreaks due to the close proximity of demonstrators, AP reports.

Why it matters: The U.S. has already recorded more confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths than any other country in the world. A potential surge in cases stemming from the protests would come as many states are weeks into their phased reopening plans.

What they're saying: The mayor of Atlanta, one of dozens of cities shaken by recent protests, told demonstrators: “If you were out protesting last night, you probably need to go get a COVID test this week. There is still a pandemic in America that’s killing black and brown people at higher numbers."

  • On Thursday, the Minneapolis health commissioner warned protestors to "be mindful of the risk" and said the large demonstrations the city has seen could “very predictably accelerate the spread.”
  • “We have two crises that are sandwiched on top of one other,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey added.
  • “Whether they’re fired up or not, that doesn’t prevent them from getting the virus,” said Bradley Pollock, chairman of the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of California, Davis, told AP.

Between the lines: Though many protesters were wearing masks during demonstrations, it does not guarantee total protection against the virus.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that cloth masks help keep infected people from spreading the virus, but that they cannot fully protect wearers from contracting it, according to AP.

Go deeper: U.S. cities crack down on protesters

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The weekly number of new global coronavirus cases reported last week reached its highest level yet, the World Health Organization said.

The big picture: From September 14-20, there were nearly 2 million new cases, a 6% increase compared to the previous week, the WHO said.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Sep 8, 2020 - Health

The college coronavirus meltdown

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Tens of thousands of college students across the country have gotten infected with the coronavirus, and thousands more are being sent home to potentially spread the virus to their families and communities.

Why it matters: These concentrated outbreaks — and any subsequent mishandling of them — could fuel larger outbreaks across the country as we head into a fall that's already expected to be extremely difficult.

Sep 8, 2020 - World

Spain sets coronavirus record as U.K. and France also see surges

A woman with her dog in Pamplona, Spain, during a protest Sunday against the Spanish government's actions during the pandemic. Photo: Elsa A Bravo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The number of coronavirus cases in Spain on Monday surpassed 500,000, after the country confirmed some 26,000 new infections over the weekend — and the U.K. and France are also reporting surges.

Why it matters: Spain is the first country in Western Europe to surpass half a million COVID-19 cases. There is growing concern that Europe is experiencing a second wave of infections, with cases surging over the summer.

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