The federal officials are reportedly concerned about a spike in coronavirus from the widespread protests in response to the death of George Floyd, and officials now have to deal with a stunning 70 test sites destroyed by rioters.
Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx was reportedly concerned “that the yelling by protesters could potentially negate the health benefits of wearing a mask, and that the destruction of testing sites at those protests would set back efforts to contain the virus’ spread,” The Daily Beast reported Tuesday. “Birx said that 70 such sites had been destroyed, which had already resulted in an appreciable dip in testing rates there. She advised governors to ‘scramble now to make sure there is testing available in urban areas.'”
Birx voiced concern that once some of the violent riots started to become more peaceful that people who were at a higher risk of serious complications from the coronavirus, like the elderly, could start to attend the events and risk exposure to the disease.
The news comes after numerous members of the D.C. National Guard “have tested positive for COVID-19 in the wake of the mass protests across the nation’s capital last week,” the Associated Press reported.
A new British study published this week said that if everyone wears masks in public that it might be enough to prevent a second wave of the coronavirus and prevent lockdowns. Reuters reported:
The research, led by scientists at the Britain’s Cambridge and Greenwich Universities, suggests lockdowns alone will not stop the resurgence of the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, but that even homemade masks can dramatically reduce transmission rates if enough people wear them in public.
“Our analyses support the immediate and universal adoption of face masks by the public,” said Richard Stutt, who co-led the study at Cambridge.
He said combining widespread mask use with social distancing and some lockdown measures, could be “an acceptable way of managing the pandemic and re-opening economic activity” before the development of an effective vaccine against COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus.
At the start of the week, the World Health Organization claimed that asymptomatic transmissions were “very rare,” only to later retract its comments less than 24 hours later, claiming that much remains unknown about the disease.
Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging disease and zoonosis unit, said that it was “a misunderstanding,” even though she is the one who said, “From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual. It’s very rare.”
In walking back her statement, Van Kerkhove said, “I wasn’t stating a policy of WHO or anything like that. We do know that some people who are asymptomatic, or some people who do not have symptoms, can transmit the virus on.”
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