BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As protests erupt across the nation and here in Baltimore, health officials are worried about the spread of COVID-19 as thousands gather closely together.
Health officials say the virus is transmitted in water droplets and moves through the air, so if protesters are sharing the air with dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people they are putting themselves in a vulnerable place.
“When you’re in a crowded setting, there is a chance of transmission because there are people there and they may have the virus and they may know they have the virus, they may be sick with the virus but they may not even know they have the virus,” Dr. Lucy Wilson, an infectious disease specialist with UMBC, said.
As the country starts to reopen, Maryland is working through the phases of Governor Hogan’s Roadmap to Recovery. Some counties are further along than others, but the recent gatherings could cause a regression, officials warn.
“Two weeks from now, across America we’re going to find out if this spikes and drives numbers back up,” Hogan said, addressing the recent protests in the state.
Dr.Lucy Wilson, an infectious disease specialist said “transmission (of Covid 19) is thought to occur mostly person to person at close distances,” making protests dangerous places during pandemic times @wjz pic.twitter.com/1azUGi82VU
— Rachael Cardin (@RachaelCardin) June 1, 2020
Wilson said any meeting, indoor or outdoor is cause for concern.
“It concerns me because we know it’s a very infectious disease and most people don’t have any immunity to it. We’re all so vulnerable to it at this point,” she said.
While masks are required in many places and strongly recommended everywhere else, the mask alone does not provide total protection.
Wilson’s message is simple: spread out or stay home.
“Use your common sense; think about the distance you are from people and the amount of time you’re spending with people and try to protect yourself from getting too close,” she said.
Health experts also said nobody knows what will happen with the virus once the weather gets warmer and humidity spikes. They said summer weather could worsen conditions and how easily the virus can spread, which is why nobody should be letting their guard down.
They advise the public to continue keeping their distance, covering their faces with masks and frequently washing their hands.