Protests May Cause Surge in COVID-19

Doctors say that outbreaks are expected even without protesting but there's a chance of the virus making a presence in the community through protesting.

DULUTH, Minn. – Experts say mask-wearing and keeping distance from others seems to be the best way to approach protesting during this pandemic. Doctors say that outbreaks are expected even without protesting. With more crowds of people gathering together, there’s a higher chance of the virus making a presence in the community.

“So it’s likely and we are expecting to see increased activity as a result of some of the protesting activity,” said Dr. Andrew Thompson, an infectious disease specialist.

Distancing has been the most effective strategy. The more we can keep people away from each other, the less likely that they can spread the virus.

Also, physicians say outdoor protests are better because fresh air equates to a lesser likelihood of transmission.

Experts added you should stay home and not protest if you’re sick, while you should also wear a mask.

“Stay home if you’re sick,” said Dr. Thompson. “Please don’t go protest if you’re ill. We don’t want you to infect other people. Wait until you’re better. Wear a mask and do what you can to keep distance between you and others.”

And with tear gas, pepper spray, and things on fire, there may also be a higher chance of the virus spreading through coughing in response to these things and could worsen transmission.

Also, people being detained or put into jail may increase transmission as well, as individuals may be in close corridors with others.

People who attend a mass public event should get a test for COVID-19 even if they’re not symptomatic. It’s probably best to get tested 5 to 7 days after potential exposure.

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