Recent waves of crowd protests throughout the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death have set off alarming new concerns about the spread of COVID-19.
Even though it is thought to be safer outside where the virus may be less contagious, those who are not practicing social distancing and congregating in close crowds could be putting themselves and others at risk.
“The center of a large crowd is no different than a sealed off, an unventilated room filled with potentially infected individuals — many holding large signs which will block the flow of clean air,” Dr. Berger said.
Many protests document people not wearing masks or keeping a safe distance of six feet apart from one another.
“If even one carrier of COVID-19 was present at these gatherings, we can expect to see a wave of cases appearing during the next 2 to 14 days,” explained Dr. Berger.
He adds that along with a potential spike in new cases attributed to protests, more spread could come during these summer months as businesses begin to open up and people grow tired of cautionary restrictions and guidelines, such as wearing masks and social distancing.
He further recommends that those who participate in protests or other large summer gatherings should be vigilant about using a face mask and maintaining distance. Dr. Berger says that it is wise to “assume that the stranger next to you is spreading the virus.”