June 4, 2020 - George Floyd, who died while being restrained by Minneapolis police on May 25, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to the medical examiner’s report released on Wednesday. The coronavirus didn’t affect his death, according to the report.
The autopsy concludes that the cause of death was “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression.” Video from bystanders showed that Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin held Floyd down with a knee on the man’s neck.
The “46-year-old man … became unresponsive while being restrained by law enforcement officers,” according to the autopsy, which was released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The report also says that Floyd tested positive for the coronavirus on April 3. A post-mortem nasal swab taken on May 26 confirmed the result. Since positive results can last for weeks, according to the report, “the autopsy result most likely reflects asymptomatic but persistent PCR positivity from previous infection.”
Floyd had underlying health conditions, including heart disease, hypertension and the sickle cell trait, which is typically an asymptomatic form of the serious sickle cell disease that primarily affects African Americans, according to NPR.
More African Americans than whites have died from the coronavirus, according to CNN, and counties with higher black populations make up more than 50% of coronavirus cases and 60% of deaths.
As protestors have marched in Floyd’s memory since his death, public health officials have urged social distancing practices and face masks to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Public officials have also encouraged people to get tested if they’ve joined a large gathering in the past 2 weeks.