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Victorians ‘slackened off’ after Black Lives Matter protest, says AMA

3AW Breakfast host Ross Stevenson says whichever way you spin it, Victoria’s COVID-19 numbers have “turned to crap” since the Black Lives Matter protest in Melbourne.

Victoria recorded zero cases of COVID-19 on June 6, the day of the protest.

There have been 209 fresh cases in the 18 days that have followed.

“We were going beautifully and it’s all turned to crap in the two weeks since the Black Lives Matter protest.”
– Ross Stevenson.

While only four cases have officially been linked to those who rallied in the CBD, and there’s been no known spread of the virus at the protest, the Victorian president of the Australian Medical Association said the mass gathering had undoubtedly played a role in the state’s recent spike in cases, culturally at the very least.

“History has shown that, usually, if there’s a mass gathering in the midst of an epidemic, you’ll pay the price in terms of cases, some time later,” Associate Professor Julian Rait told 3AW Breakfast.

“That’s based on experiences – obviously with the original flu pandemic in 1918 and 1919 that cities like Philadelphia and Perth, that had mass rallies and celebrations of one sort or another, had a surge in infections some weeks later.

“I think it’s a little bit different here, in the sense that people did take some extra precautions with this, (but) I think it’s been more the signal that was sent by that to others.

“I think there’s some evidence from the health officer that movements have been increasing for some weeks and that (protest) probably accelerated the rate people slackened off and didn’t follow the social distancing advice they were given.”

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