Footballer's virus revelation rocks George Floyd protests

·3-min read
Amen Ogbongbemiga, pictured here in action for Oklahoma State University. Image: Getty
Amen Ogbongbemiga says he contracted coronavirus at a George Floyd protest. Image: Getty

College football star Amen Ogbongbemiga has revealed he has tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a protest in Tulsa.

The Oklahoma State University player attended a rally protesting racial injustice and police brutality after the death of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis.

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Ogbongbemiga made the announcement on his Twitter account.

He noted he had been “well protective” of himself while attending the protest, and advised others to stay safe if they go out and protest.

“After attending a protest in Tulsa AND being well protective of myself, I have tested positive for COVID-19,” the Calgary resident tweeted.

“Please, if you are going to protest, take care of yourself and stay safe.”

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The six-foot-one, 231-pound Ogbongbemiga was a defensive captain last season for the Cowboys.

He had 105 tackles - 15.5 for a loss - five sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and fumble recovery as a junior, capturing the Leslie O'Neal awards as the team's defensive MVP.

Experts had warned of virus danger at protests

Cities across the country have seen mass protests in the wake of the death of Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, with several athletes and other sporting figures taking part.

As thousands of people gather to send a message about racial inequality and police brutality, experts are concerned the protests could lead to further spreading of the virus that has already killed more than 100,000 in America.

Social distancing isn’t really a possibility in packed crowds.

“There's no doubt in my mind that these can become breeding grounds for this virus," Dr Michael Mina, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, told reporters recently.

“I would not be surprised to see in the next couple of weeks that we see increases that may be linked to protests.”

Medical workers, pictured here participating in a protest after the death of George Floyd.
Medical workers participate in a protest after the death of George Floyd. (Photo by Pablo Monsalve/VIEWpress via Getty Images)

There are fears carriers of the virus, particularly asymptomatic cases, are unwittingly spreading the virus in congested urban streets, where police look to contain protesters into smaller areas.

And while the protests are outdoors and large sections of protesters are wearing masks, experts are warning they are not effective in preventing the spread of the virus if social distancing is ignored.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he feared such events witnessed in the city could become a “super-spreader” event, while Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said it was vital protesters went to get a virus test.

Dr Howard Markel, a professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health who studies the history of pandemics, warned heightened emotions would only worsen the spread of the virus.

“People get lost in the moment, and they lose awareness of who is close to them, who’s not, who’s wearing a mask, who’s not,” he told the New York Times.

Numerous prominent athletes, including NBA great Michael Jordan, Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo, have spoken out in recent days as anti-police brutality and anti-racism marches and rallies boiled over across the country.

Liverpool players took a knee at Premier League training on Monday while Manchester United stars Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba took to social media to voice their stance against racism.

Former five-division world champion boxer Floyd Mayweather has also offered to cover Floyd's funeral costs.

with Yahoo Staff and agencies

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