Autopsy report says George Floyd tested positive for coronavirus

WION Web Team
New York, New York, United States of AmericaUpdated: Jun 04, 2020, 12:21 PM IST
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File photo Photograph:(Reuters)

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George Floyd, a black man, was pinned by his neck to the street during an arrest for at least nine minutes, leading to his death.

George Floyd, whose death in police custody has sparked more than a week of nationwide protest and civil strife, tested positive for the novel coronavirus in a new autopsy report.

The post-mortem nasal swab was found to be “positive for 2019-nCoV RNA,” said the report, using another term for the type of coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

George Floyd, a black man, was pinned by his neck to the street during an arrest for at least nine minutes, leading to his death.

According to CNN, the type of test performed for the autopsy, called PCR, can show a positive result “for weeks after the onset and resolution of clinical disease.” 

The autopsy result most likely reflects asymptomatic but persistent PCR positivity from previous infection -- implying the virus played no known role in Floyd’s death and he was unlikely to have been contagious.

Floyd, whom police suspected of trying to pass a counterfeit bill to pay for cigarettes, was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after the May 25 encounter.

Derek Chauvin was the white officer seen in widely circulated video footage kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd gasped for air and repeatedly groaned, "Please, I can't breathe."

Chauvin was jailed last week on charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter, and was newly charged with second-degree murder.

Three fellow officers fired from the Minneapolis police department along with Chauvin the next day were charged on Wednesday - each with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.

The three men - Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao - have also been taken into custody. Aiding and abetting second-degree murder carries the same maximum punishment as the underlying offense - 40 years in prison.

Floyd's death has become the latest flashpoint for long-simmering rage over police brutality against African Americans, propelling the issue of racial justice to the top of the political agenda five months before the US presidential election on November 3.

The spectacle of city streets flooded with angry though mostly peaceful protesters - punctuated by scenes of arson, looting and clashes with police - have fuelled a sense of crisis.

The upheavals have flared following weeks of social lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced millions of Americans out of work and disproportionately affected minorities.

(with inputs from Reuters)