People out in the streets protesting police brutality and systemic racism face the health risks of being in large crowds during the coronavirus pandemic. Health officials recommend wearing a mask, keeping your distance and getting tested regularly if you're attending mass gatherings.
New Mexico Department of Health spokesperson David Morgan said it could take two to 14 days to experience symptoms after exposure to the virus. He suggested essential workers get tested once a week if they've been out at protests, even if they're asymptomatic.
"It's important for all of us that we don't let our guard down, that we remember that COVID-19 is still out there and that it can have unpredictable results," said Morgan.
Morgan said the protests won't be the only cause of a potential spike in COVID-19 but could be one amongst other factors as public health restrictions are lifted. He stressed people should still maintain social distancing and wear face masks in public.
"The degree that we are protecting ourselves is also going to be the degree that we are protecting others" Morgan said.
Health experts say gathering outdoors is safer than indoors, but that yelling and singing increase the risk of spreading the virus through airborne droplets. The DOH suggests protesters get tested right away if they start having a cough, fever, shortness of breath, body aches, or any other COVID-19 symptoms.
- Attending Protests? Here's How To Keep Your Family Safe When You Go Home (NPR)
- Coronavirus FAQs: How To Stay Safe While Protesting, When To Go Out After Recovery (NPR)
- Tear-Gassing Protesters During An Infectious Outbreak Called 'A Recipe For Disaster' (NPR)
- Call NMDOH's coronavirus hotline at 1-855-600-3453. For non-health related COVID questions, call 1-833-551-0518.