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MLK march delayed amid COVID concerns

To keep a dream of unity from turning into a super-spreader event, the people behind the annual Dream Builders of Greenwood Martin Luther King Jr. march are delaying it.

“We’re looking at the numbers. I had COVID, and some other folks I know have had COVID,” said Donald Burton, co-founder of Dream Builders. “We just said that maybe it may not be a good time.”

The annual march has gone on despite biting cold and inclement weather in recent years, with crowds of more than 50 people each year marching from the Greenwood County Courthouse to Weston Chapel AME Church on East Cambridge Avenue. It’s brought together people of all ages, creeds and races to celebrate learning from history and unifying through the messages of the civil rights movement.

The march in 2020 took place Jan. 20 — the same day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified its first U.S. COVID-19 patient in Washington state. Since that first diagnosis, more than 22 million people have contracted COVID-19 in the U.S, with more than 373,000 of them dying.

Burton said he contracted it a while back, and experienced mild symptoms. However, he’s known several people who have died of the virus.

“I don’t see the numbers dropping anywhere between now and Monday,” he said. “We didn’t want to have that on our hands, that someone came and our event became a super-spreader.”

Burton said he’ll work with other civic organizations to plan an event later in the year, with a date and details to be announced later. Until then, he said, he just wants people to stay safe.

Contact staff writer Damian Dominguez at 864-634-7548 or follow on Twitter @IJDDOMINGUEZ.

COVID-19

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As the Lakelands and the country respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has led to state and national emergency declarations, it is vital for everyone to have up-to-date information about the virus and its spread. As such, we're providing free access to all of our COVID-19 coverage, which is available on this page.

Here's the latest information on COVID-19 from health agencies and hospitals: