Massive demonstrations continue across the U.S. two weeks after police killed Minneapolis man George Floyd, leaving public health experts concerned with an eventual spike in COVID-19 cases. Some cried foul of a double standard, as just weeks before, protesters against government shutdowns in some states were roundly criticized.

Medical ethicist Art Caplan told Boston Public Radio on Wednesday people should be free to protest, so long as they are careful, wear masks, bring hand sanitizer and try to socially distance as much as possible.

"I think we can walk and chew gum at the same time," he said. "We still have this plague. I think everybody can be prudent.

"Social distancing in a 50,000 person march is probably not going to happen, I get that, but let's not let our guard down."

Before Floyd's killing, Caplan told WGBH News that protesters need to take responsibility for the uptick in cases their actions will likely cause, and acknowledge the risk they're taking when they take to the streets. At the time, people were protesting government shutdowns to businesses that restrict the economy, in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.