Protesters need to be evaluated and tested for coronavirus, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday.
“We really want those individuals to highly consider being evaluated and get tested,” Redfield said at a House Appropriations hearing on the Covid-19 response.
“I do think there is a potential, unfortunately for this to be a seeding event,” he said — especially those in metropolitan areas where there has been significant transmission.
“The way to minimize that 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, I need to go get tested,’ you know, and in three, five, seven days go get tested, make sure you're not infected,” Redfield said.
During an exchange with Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Redfield addressed the use of tear gas on protesters. Redfield said in his experience tear gas can cause people to cough – not a good thing during a pandemic involving a respiratory virus.
“Definitely coughing can spread respiratory viruses, including Covid-19,” he said.
Pocan asked Redfield if he had advised the President or worked with law enforcement to discontinue to use of tear gas during the pandemic.
“I think you raised an important point we have advocated strongly — the ability to have face coverings and masks available to protesters, so that they can at least have those coverings,” Redfield said.
Redfield added he would “pass on this comment to next Task Force meeting.”