“Our protest was on June 4 and we started to get a rise on June 14, 15 and 16, and many of those cases don’t have an identified locus,” Dr Varney told The Telegraph.
“So they don’t have a workplace, they’re not at school, they’re not at a hospital, they’re not in a care home. So they are classified as unknown, and that’s what raises the question for me. To me, that suggests a link with the protests.
“If you look at the age profile, they weren’t 70-year-olds. They were 20 or 30-year-olds.
“I’ve asked Public Health England for national analysis to look at whether the Black Lives Matter protest could be responsible for this.”
Dr Varney said the alarm was first raised in a daily “exceedance report”, issued to Birmingham City Council by Public Health England, which flagged up a “red alert” on June 15.
He added that although relatively small, the rise in cases was concerning because it may suggest that more young people could have caught coronavirus without showing symptoms and risked spreading it to older family members.
“The problem is that they take it back into their homes,” he said. “And it’s not so much the risk to them, because young people don’t often get sick. It’s the risk to granny or granddad or mum and dad.”
Birmingham has seen a general uptick in cases since the protest but “nowhere near” the levels in Leicester (see below), Dr Varney said.