COVID-19: Spike in new cases resulting from protests to be expected next week

As Poland saw another record-breaking number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday, government spokesperson Piotr Müller said that “a spike in infections resulting from protests can be expected next week and this weekend.” Meanwhile, Deputy Health Minister Waldemar Kraska expressed his deep worry about the impact of the protests on the infection curve.

“A spike in infections resulting from the protests can be expected next week, this weekend and at the beginning of the next week. I hope that the growth will not be large but justified concerns have been appearing,” Mr Müller told Radio Gdańsk, adding that “similar situations took place in the US.”

The protests that Mr Müller referred to broke out in the wake of the Constitutional Courts (TK) ruling of October 22 that terminating a pregnancy in cases where doctors determine that the foetus is damaged in such a way that the child is highly probable to suffer from a severe disability is unconstitutional.

This sentence outraged thousands of Poles, especially young people, across Poland and even abroad. Protests against the ruling of TK took place in towns and cities all over the country, regardless of the state of the epidemic and the viable threat to groups most endangered by the virus, elders for instance.

“I can see, nonetheless, that the epidemic arguments keep on increasingly hitting home for people who look at the developments in a rational way, even if they do not agree with the Constitutional Court’s ruling – the main argument being the responsibility for oneself, their families and friends,” said the governmental spokesperson, adding that “on the other hand, the protests become very tellingly used by leftist milieus. The colours of the protest begin to turn into a rainbow.”V “I appeal for not undertaking actions that violate the law,” the official said. For his part, Deputy Health Minister Waldemar Kraska told Telewizja Republika private broadcaster that the recent spike in COVID-19 infections resulted, in the main, from the increased number of interpersonal contacts. “What we have now is the same state of affairs that we saw before the pandemic. Our activity is similar to the one from January 2020. This increased activity results in an increase in infections,” Mr Kraska said, adding that mass assemblies such as the ongoing protests would lead to a huge spike in new COVID-19 cases. “ I look with great concern at what has been going on in the Polish streets,” the Deputy Health Minister said, adding that in spite of wearing face masks, the risk of falling ill during such large gatherings is much larger. “I am aware of the importance of democracy, of demonstrating our convictions being very important but still, we are having an epidemic here. I would not like any of the young people about to protest today to bow over the grave of his or her close one,” Mr Kraska said.

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