In late May, as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) stay-at-home orders and closures eased, George Floyd’s on-camera death in police custody in Minneapolis sparked antiracist demonstrations across the nation. Some turned violent. With the protests and the pandemic colliding, fears arose that new COVID-19 outbreaks could soon follow.
The possibility of protest-related infections came up when JAMA Editor in Chief Howard Bauchner, MD, spoke by video with Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force. Their June 2 discussion ranged from COVID-19 vaccine development to immunity passports to the recent death of prominent AIDS activist Larry Kramer, whose relationship with Fauci evolved over decades. The following is an edited version of the conversation.