The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a House panel Thursday that demonstrators protesting racial injustice need to get tested for the coronavirus, The Washington Post reported.
In testimony at a House appropriations subcommittee hearing on his agency’s response to COVID-19, CDC Director Robert Redfield said he believes there’s cause for concern about the density of protests that have roiled cities across the nation.
“I do think there is a potential, unfortunately, for this to be a seeding event,” Redfield said, the Post reported.
“And the way to minimize it is to have each individual to recognize it’s to the advantage of them to protect their loved ones, to [say]: ‘Hey, I was out. I need to go get tested.’ You know, in three, five, seven days, go get tested. Make sure you’re not infected.”
Redfield noted Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., are two metropolitan areas where significant transmission of the virus is still taking place, and that health experts are concerned about any large gatherings in a close space that can make it easier to spread the disease caused by the coronavirus.
When asked if the use of chemical agents by law enforcement to disperse crowds in several cities could help spread the disease, Redfield declared:
“Definitely, coughing can spread respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.”
“We have advocated strongly the ability to have face coverings and masks available to protesters so that they can at least have those coverings,” he said, adding that he would pass along the information about use of irritants at protests to the coronavirus task force, the Post reported.
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