Top Doctor Says That Protests Are Litmus Tests For COVID-19 Spikes
For months, we've all been practicing social distancing to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Now with gatherings like protests and rallies going on, we can't help but wonder whether or not that is going to be problematic.
With that, we turned to Dr. Rajeev Fernando, one of New York's top infectious disease specialists, for some answers, and here's what he had to say on the subject:
"Absolutely. We have to continue to practice social distancing. I've been at one of these protests and I saw more than 50% of people not wearing masks, and not social distancing. We have to really be cognizant that this pandemic still exists. What I'm seeing is that everyone is forgetting about the pandemic, just focusing on the peaceful protests, and yes, I'm very concerned about it.
The incubation period for this virus is about two weeks, and thus the problem I'm seeing is when you're in an epidemic, it's much easier for epidemiologists to make predictions on something like this. But in a pandemic, all bets are off, so you really can't make any type of prediction at all. If someone asked me today what are my chances of getting influenza, I would probably say zero, it's very rare this time of year. However, with a pandemic, it doesn't typically follow the rules, which we have seen before. When we rely on certain characteristics based on the virus and how it behaves, new things pop up that we can't rely on. I would not advise anyone to stop any of their social distancing for now."
So is it safe to say we're looking at about another week and a half or so before we look for possible spikes in cases?
"In my experience, it would be around 10 or 12 days, which is really the outside chance of spreading the virus. With this virus though, it's been very challenging and it's been unpredictable. So in a perfect world, I would say yes. Based on how a pandemic typically operates, we should see spikes, but as we've seen with previous projections, this virus hasn't always followed the trends."