In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, large public protests defy public health restrictions as people gathering in close proximity pour into the streets.
Here in the valley, Dr. Euthym Kontaxis, the medical director of Tennity Emergency Department at Eisenhower Health says a lot of important information about the virus will follow in the wake of these protests.
“As a physician, I hope people are practicing social distancing, but I’m also curious to see if we do see a spike," Kontaxis said. "Then we’ll know, 'oh my goodness, gatherings are still at risk, we have to be extra careful,' so I think this is going to let us know a lot of information pretty quickly,” he added.
And perhaps this new data could lead to a faster reopening.
“I think if we don’t see a huge spike, maybe that will help us loosen things up a little bit,” Kontaxis said.
However, there’s still a concern over the virus becoming a super spreader due to these large gatherings.
“I think emotions sometimes get the best of people and they still need to be considerate of their own health,” Kontaxis said.
Kontaxis reminds us, if you have any symptoms at all or have tested positive you should not be going out into the public.
“I think in general this is not a benign illness," he said. "There are people getting significantly ill from it so I don’t want people to be cavalier. I think they should be careful,” he said.
Riverside County Public Health released a statement on Monday were they urged anyone attending protests to social distance and wear a face mask.
According to Lancet research, if you are exposed to this virus unmasked, the chance of infection is 17.4 percent, however if you do wear a mask your chance drops to 3.1 percent.
“We’re seeing a slight increase this week in the hospital, we’ve seen a few more cases but our ICU cases are about the same so I think there’s some underlying infection in the valley,” Kontaxis said.