Denver Post: Joining crowds of Denver protesters brings risk of COVID-19 exposure. Here’s how to protect yourself — and when to get testedJun 1, 2020
The demonstrations in downtown Denver over the death of George Floyd have the potential to increase coronavirus infections, although public health experts said Monday that it’s still too soon to know how big of a spike in cases Colorado could see.Mayor Micheal Hancock over the weekend urged demonstrators — even those without symptoms — to get tested for the coronavirus at the Pepsi Center, where the city has a free, drive-up testing site.People who want to be tested must first register online or by calling 311, and be prepared to get tested within 24 hours.
While the demonstrations have taken place outside, large crowds have gathered and authorities have deployed tear gas and fired pepper balls — all of which has the ability to increase the risk of protesters’ exposure during a respiratory pandemic.
“The use of any agent that’s going to generate a lot of coughing among people that are in dense group settings, when people are in close proximity, that’s absolutely going to elevate risks considerably,” said Glen Mays, a professor of health policy at the Colorado School of Public Health.“These activities are important to be engaged in,” Mays said of the protests, which entered their fifth night in downtown Denver on Monday.
He added, “It’s really unfortunate because both of the problems we are dealing with are rooted in discrimination and inequality.”
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