Could COVID-19 cases spike from protests? ER doctor weighs in

A local ER physician tells ABC7 he is "cautiously optimistic" about the potential spike in COVID-19 cases after large crowds recently gathered to demonstrate in various communities around Southern California, but recommends testing.
ER physician with Providence St. Joseph Medical Center Dr. Michael Daignault joined ABC7 via Skype to discuss the potential increase in COVID-19 cases due to people gathering in large numbers at various demonstrations this past week.

Dr. Daignault says his is "cautiously optimistic" that the numbers will not see a large spike. On one side, having it outside, in the sun and wind, may have diluted effects of the virus. But on the other side, the large crowds could pose a problem.

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Dr. Anu Seshadri handed out masks and hand sanitizer to protesters who gathered in downtown Los Angeles Friday to stand up against police brutality.


"10,000 strong in some places," said Dr. Daignault. "As much as it is your civic responsibility and right to protest, you should consider getting tested within five days, and again in 14 days."

The fact that many of the demonstrators were younger could be another concern.

"As a physician, my concern is when they go back home and spread (the virus) to more at-risk older adults," said Dr. Daignault.

The doctor also talked about the new guidelines offered by the CDC to employers for keeping employees safe as they start to come back into the work place.

"You need to ask if it's safe to go in or safer to continue to work from home if they can," said Dr. Daignault. "Until we have a vaccine."

Watch the full interview in the video above.

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