Inslee says evidence shows protests are not spreading COVID-19

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Saying he’s pleased with the way businesses and residents are complying with his mandatory face covering order, Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday that social gatherings continue to be a problem in spreading COVID-19.

Inslee cited backyard barbecues and inside birthday parties as problematic but when asked by a reporter about protest marches, Inslee said he believes they have not been spreading the virus.

“Fortunately we’ve got pretty good evidence that the protests have not caused a spike,” Inslee said.

The governor said about 5,000 people who attended protests in King County asked to be tested afterward for the virus.

“The positivity was like one-tenth of one percent, extremely low,” Inslee said. “The evidence is pretty strong that the protests have not been, thankfully, a reason for the pandemic increasing.

Inslee said, by his observation, most protesters have been wearing masks.

Inslee also said his freeze on counties reopening up under his phased plan will  continue, for now.

Widespread facial coverings in the state are becoming the norm, Inslee said.

“This is very heartening,” Inslee said. “We want to thank the business community for leading on this. We’ve seen surveys in Yakima and Chelan and Tri-Cities where maybe 90-95 percent of people going into businesses are wearing masks. This is tremendous.”