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


Good morning so I was walking around a protest outside the White House yesterday thousands of people were there many if not most of them wore masks but social distancing six feet apart not so much public health experts worry about spreading corona virus through protests and as the nation is told to continue practicing social distancing some experts also say messages from the trump administration may undermine their efforts NPR's Allison Aubrey joins us now either Allison good morning Steve how if at all could protests across the country affect the spread of the coronavirus well it's too soon to say but when you have groups of people concentrated together as we saw this weekend you have some of the key ingredients for transmission mainly prolonged close contact and the images of protesters shoulder to shoulder as you say some with masks which is good some not this certainly raises concerns Washington DC mayor Muriel Bowser spoke on NBC about it I'm concerned that we have mass gatherings in our streets when we just lifted a stay at home water and what that could mean for spikes in our coronavirus cases later in fact I'm so concerned about it that I'm urging everybody to consider their exposure if they need to isolate from their family members when they go home and if they need to be tested there is also disruption of covert testing in Los Angeles they announced a temporary closure of local testing centers over the weekend due to the unrest so a lot of concern given the close contact the lack of social distancing can people who choose to protest feel a little more safe because they are outdoors when they're protesting yes being out brick doors reduces the risk it's clear that confined indoor environments are more dangerous but you know in recent weeks have been how breaks linked to places we may not expect it's not just meat processing plants or hospitals in Arkansas there are cases linked to a high school pool party in the town of Paragould public health officials there tell me contact tracing is likely on going so they don't know the total number of cases but it's a reminder that and help break can happy anywhere where people are in close credit spaces I spoke to leaf van Boven he's a professor at the university of Colorado boulder and he points out that when you don't know personally anyone infected with the virus it may be harder to stay vigilant because the threat just seems distant so far off it and your cities it's under kinds of workers it's other ethnicities and it's hard to be compelled by something that's totally invisible and of course one of the greatest challenges is that here we were to experience the spread of code in our community would take a couple of weeks to show up so we wouldn't know right away and by the time we realized that something has gone wrong it will very much be too late the virus will be spreading so staying vigilant on social distancing wearing a mask in public spaces these are both important and he says if there were strong leadership promoting these messages in a consistent science backed away that would be helpful Alison I'm glad you mentioned science because when it comes to masks there is science but there's also politics they're people who are upset about being asked to wear masks who are refusing to do it for political reasons or maybe you just aren't very comfortable putting them on what is the evidence sure well I it's because I'm clear there's a fair amount of eighty symptomatic or pre symptomatic spread of this virus and masking helps prevent the release the virus so it's beneficial there are multiple studies to back this up new studies yet to this point about needing strong leadership to reinforce this I spoke to former CDC director Tom Frieden he says people may get mixed messages he points to the day that the CDC face covering our mascot guidance was announced at the White House the CDC recommended that everyone wear masks in certain circumstances at the same press conference the president said he wasn't going to wear a mask so this really does make our response less effective it makes it more likely that we'll have more spread of disease because some people may be less likely to comply I mean other examples in Plano of theirs the president has promoted the re opening of churches with the administration removing warnings about the risks of choirs in the president has made it known that he'd like a crack held when he speaks at the Republican can and later this summer yet per the CDC guidance we should not be gathering in crowds and we should continue social

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