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U.S. health experts warn protests may add to virus spread

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 01:40s - Published
U.S. health experts warn protests may add to virus spread

U.S. health experts warn protests may add to virus spread

Public health experts and government officials, including New York's governor, are warning that large street protests over racial inequities and excessive police force could worsen the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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The protests over the death of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, in police custody in Minneapolis last Monday (May 25), have spread to cities including New York, Los Angeles, and Baltimore.

They are bringing together hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people just as the country is reopening after lengthy lockdowns to stop the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

At demonstrations in San Francisco and Santa Monica, California on Monday (June 1), participants were wearing masks and some tried to stay six feet apart from other protesters.

Health experts say the close proximity of participants, running and yelling or chanting, may increase transmission because people emit more respiratory droplets under these conditions.

"These are large numbers of people getting together closely for prolonged periods of time and often cheering and shouting.

So they're exhaling with vigor.

So we know that people without symptoms can spread this virus and it's possible that, in that circumstance, the COVID virus could be spread to others," said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.




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