Should You Get Tested for Covid-19 After Protesting?
Keep yourself and your loved ones safe after showing support
Over the past few days, tens of thousands of Americans have taken to the streets to protest the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic raged on, resulting in new positive cases each day.
Participating in a protest increases your risk of getting infected with and spreading Covid-19 because it puts you shoulder to shoulder with other protesters who can potentially spread the virus. But for many people, speaking out against racism and police brutality is well worth that risk.
After participating in a protest, one way to help keep you and your loved ones safe from Covid-19 is to get tested. Doing so can let you know whether to self-isolate so you don’t get other people sick. Widespread testing has been key to controlling the pandemic because it helps public health experts contain the spread of the disease. Some major cities that have hosted protests are beginning to offer free testing to participants.
Why you should get tested
It’s well established that Covid-19 spreads primarily through close contact. When an infected person talks, coughs, sneezes, or shouts, they expel tiny droplets containing the virus. If these droplets get into another person’s eyes, nose, or mouth, they could cause infection. At a protest, people are crammed close together and are constantly shouting, so the risk of transmission is increased. And remember, people can be asymptomatic and still spread the virus.
There are a number of ways to reduce your risk of spreading or catching Covid-19 at a protest, but it’s impossible to bring your risk down to zero. Getting tested can confirm whether or not you were infected after you attend.
“In this situation, CDC guidelines should be followed for SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic testing,” Carmen Wiley, PhD, of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry tells the Medium Coronavirus blog. “If you found yourself in a situation where you could not maintain social distancing or were in a situation where people were coughing and you feel you may have increased risk of exposure, you can opt to…