Cuomo to protesters: Get tested for coronavirus, assume exposure

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the thousands of people who have been protesting in the streets of New York in recent days should assume they've been exposed to the coronavirus and get tested as soon as possible.

The governor called this their "civic duty" and noted that the people protesting the death of George Floyd and police brutality are gathering and marching in tightly packed groups and many aren't wearing face coverings.

"If you were at a protest, go get a test, please. The protesters have a civic duty here also. Be responsible, get a test," Cuomo said at his daily briefing from Albany. "Go to the website and find out the testing site nearest you. We have 700 in the state. You can get a test, get a test."

Hundreds of demonstrators gather in Washington Square, New York, N.Y., June 2, 2020. (FOX 5 NY)

Cuomo said that perhaps the protesters, many of them on the younger side, aren't too worried about their own health but could be carriers, or super-spreaders, of the virus. He is concerned that they could spread the virus to their families.

"If you were at one of those protests, I would out of an abundance of caution, assume that you are infected. Tell people. When you go home, tell your parents. Tell your sister, tell your brother who may not be 25 years old and consider themselves a superhero," Cuomo said. "Tell people, 'I may have been exposed' and act like you may have been exposed."

New York City, where the state's largest demonstrations are happening, is set to enter the so-called Phase 1 of the governor's reopening plan on Monday, June 8. 

"New York City had the highest number of protesters," Cuomo said. "We have to be smart." 

Through Thursday, New York has had 375,133 lab-confirmed cases and 24,133 coronavirus-related deaths.

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