With COVID-19 case numbers on the rise in Victoria, some people have drawn an unsubstantiated link between the spike and the large Black Lives Matter protest held in Melbourne on June 6.
Tweeting this week, Liberal senator Sarah Henderson said: "Daniel Andrews blames law abiding Victorian families for doing the wrong thing rather than 10,000 illegal protesters?"
With no active Covid19 cases in SW Vic and after months of closed businesses & schools, cancelled weddings & missed funerals, @DanielAndrewsMP blames law abiding Victorian families for doing the wrong thing rather than 10,000 illegal protestors? We are all equal under the law.— Senator Sarah Henderson (@SenSHenderson) June 21, 2020
Some of Senator Henderson's Liberal Party colleagues, including Matthew Guy, Georgie Crozier and Tim Smith, as well as Evan Mulholland of the Institute of Public Affairs, tweeted similar criticisms, while headlines have also declared that the "upsurge in COVID cases [is] linked to Melbourne Black Lives Matter protests".
But these assertions contradict the guidance of officials of the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, who continue to report that the current burst of cases does not stem from the rally.
They have said that while one protester "may have been infectious at the rally", two others who have since tested positive for COVID-19 were not infectious at the rally, nor is there evidence they contracted the virus at the rally.
Rather, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton, has linked the increase in cases to family gatherings, citing family spread as the "main cause" of 120 cases in the week to June 22.
Chairman Dan is a mega fool.He let 10,000 hooligans protest without sanction.This did 1 of 2 things. It spread the virus &/or secondly it signaled to everyone else,this virus is no big deal, he’s letting these protesters get on the bongs ...why can’t the rest of us get on the🍺? https://t.co/9dLEVDKA6D— Tim Smith MP (@TimSmithMP) June 21, 2020
"People have not followed our advice around physical distancing, hygiene and limiting the number of people you invite into your home," he said in a statement.
Australia's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Nick Coatsworth, also dismissed claims the spike could be linked to the protests, telling reporters that "there is no evidence that there has been chains of community transmission that we are aware of through the Black Lives Matter protests".
According to official Australian Government advice, "most people who are infected will develop symptoms within 14 days of infection".
It has been 20 days since the Black Lives Matter protest in Melbourne.
Acknowledgement of Country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer