The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday said it’s closely monitoring the demonstrations happening across America. The comments come amid concerns that the protests – like other gatherings – could spur additional coronavirus transmission.
“CDC and our federal partners are monitoring closely the demonstrations happening across America. Protests and large gatherings make it difficult to maintain our recommended social distancing guidelines and may put others at risk,” CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund said in a statement.
“It is too early to know what, if any, effect these events will have on the federal COVID-19 response. Every local situation is different. State and local officials will make decisions to protect public health and safety based on circumstances on the ground,” she said.
Earlier this week: CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said protesters should be evaluated and tested for coronavirus.
“We really want those individuals to highly consider being evaluated and get tested,” Redfield said Thursday 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 in metropolitan areas where there has been significant transmission.
During an exchange with Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Redfield also addressed the use of tear gas and similar chemical agents on protesters. Redfield said that in his experience, the agents can cause people to cough.
“Definitely coughing can spread respiratory viruses, including Covid-19,” Redfield said.
Pocan asked Redfield if he had advised the President or worked with law enforcement to discontinue the use of chemical agents 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.
Pressed by Pocan on whether he would recommend against the agents, Redfield said he would “pass on this comment to the next Task Force meeting.”