After tracking anonymous cell phone data from 315 of the largest US cities, the National Bureau of Economic Research determined that protests have not led to a surge in coronavirus cases since the demonstrations began.
"We find no evidence that net COVID-19 case growth differentially rose following the onset of Black Lives Matter protests, and even modest evidence of a small longer-run case growth decline," researchers said, later adding they found no data that "urban protests reignited COVID-19 case growth during the more than three weeks following protest onset."
In addition, researchers discovered "strong evidence" of an increase of stay-at-home behavior for those who attended protests. They also determined that people who decided not to march may have created an "offsetting effect, increasing social distancing behavior in other parts of the population."
"While it is almost certain that the protests caused a decrease in social distancing behavior among protest attendees, we demonstrate that effect of the protests on the social distancing behavior of the entire population residing in counties with large urban protests was positive," read the report.
Researchers also noted that it's possible the protests "caused an increase in the spread of COVID-19" among those who participated in the demonstrations, however, they had "little effect on the spread of COVID-19 for the entire population of the counties with protests during the more than three weeks following protest onset."
As of June 24, the US has nearly 2.5 million cases of coronavirus and more than 120,000 reported deaths. There have been over 9 million confirmed cases worldwide.