COVID-19: protests’ impact on pandemic numbers in Georgia

Georgia News

ATLANTA, Ga. (WJBF) – It’s now 4 weeks since George Floyd died which sparked weeks of civil rights protests across the country.

But to what extent did those large gatherings play a role with the spread of COVID-19 in Georgia?

Atlanta Bureau Chief, Archith Seshadri, talks to Emory doctors to find out.

Emory doctors say the recent protests and reopening of the economy may be why Georgia is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“If I was in a city that has a major outbreak or cluster, with new cases increasing,  or where the hospital ICU beds were saturated, then the risks of protests  or any social activity goes up dramatically.”

Dr. Jay Varkey Emory University Hospital, Atlanta

Health experts say if you go out, wear a mask or face shield and use hand sanitizer, and if you’re sick, just stay home.

“It’s the same principal what we apply in the hospital – my mask protects you, your masks protects me.  During a large gathering, it’s a safe way to protect each other.”

Dr. Jay Varkey Emory University Hospital, Atlanta

“Wearing a mask in public is important. We need to see more of that like our artists, political leaders wearing a mask in public. When I see tear gas, or pepper bombs,  by its nature causes people to rub their eyes which can cause infection transmission.”

Dr. Carlos Del Rio

State leaders want everyone who has protested to get tested — even if you wore a mask.

“Do mass protests have the risk of spreading COVID-19? Yes,  but as the country slowly opens that we be honest with the public that there is no such thing as a zero risk social activity.”

Dr. Jay Varkey Emory University Hospital, Atlanta

New numbers released by Johns Hopkins University show that one of out every 150 Americans is infected with COVID-19.

State health data shows the metro Atlanta area has the worst outbreak with Albany and Gainesville as hot spots.

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