Marches and rallies: would demonstrations cause a rebound in COVID-19 cases?  Experts say

In the midst of the current political situation that the country is going through, and as a result of this, in recent weeks the streets of Lima -and in certain areas of the country as well- have been registering various concentrations of people for and against Keiko Fujimori (Popular Force) and Pedro Castillo (Free Peru). The marches Y ralliesThey have even been led by both candidates, in the midst of the pandemic of the COVID-19.

One of these demonstrations occurred on June 12, the day a rally was held, in which the Fujimori, after a march organized by supporters of his party in Cercado de Lima. The concentration prior to the mobilization, called on social networks, took place at the intersection of La Peruanidad avenues with July 28, near the Campo de Marte.

Popular Force: this was the demonstration called by followers in Cercado de Lima | PHOTOS

Another concentration was held on the 19th of the same month, when representatives of different groups, civil and human rights associations, political parties, unions and the general public, mobilized around the Plaza San Martín, in the so-called Great National March, which was held held simultaneously in the capital and in other provinces of the country, in support of the presidential candidate of Peru Libre, Pedro Castillo.

Both demonstrations, as well as others that followed, drew a considerable number of people.

Trade spoke with Godofredo Talavera Chávez, president of the Peruvian Medical Federation, and Ernesto Gozzer, health care physician and professor at the Universidad Peruano Cayetano Heredia, to find out if as a result of these manifestations it could be possible to speak of a possible rebound in cases of coronavirus in the following weeks.

An unnecessary risk

For Dr. Talavera, during the outdoor demonstrations, people run an unnecessary risk of contagion. He indicated that no one respects biosafety measures and the distance of at least one and a half meters practically does not exist.

They expose themselves unnecessarily, people do not use the mask well, they yell, gather and do not practice distancing. All of that is a risk. Although they are outdoors, there is always a risk, so this type of demonstration should not be carried out“, Held.

Peru Libre sympathizers marched through Plaza San Martín in downtown Lima

He also recalled that the marches held last November resulted in an increase in cases of coronavirus after two or three weeks, which is why he pointed out that it is most likely that after the latest demonstrations there will be an increase in infections in the coming days.

“The most ideal thing would be for the demonstrations to take place in an open space, each one keeping a meter and a half apart, for everyone to use the mask and face shield correctly, but that does not happen. We even see that people move in crowded buses. So, it is not recommended at all ”, said the president of the Peruvian Medical Federation.

The crowding of people is the most important factor that can cause an increase in infections during the demonstrations. (Photo: César Bueno/@photo.gec)

Talavera added that before thinking about meeting, people should wait for the National Elections Jury to manifest. “Wait with due calm and the necessary responsibility“, I consider.

The problem of crowding

On the other hand, Dr. Gozzer stressed that the important thing is that there is no agglomeration of people during the demonstrations. In that sense, he specified that the rallies present a greater risk of contagion than the marches, since in them people are not moving and generally do not respect biosafety measures, such as the use of a mask.

The problem is not so much the march but in the rallies. In the marches, if they are carried out at a distance, with a double mask, with a face mask and without shouting, the risks are medium to low levels. On the other hand, when they are rallies it is different, since people are much closer to each other and they lower their masks, which increases the risk of transmitting the virus”,

This was the demonstration called by supporters of Peru Libre in Plaza San Martín | PHOTOS

He also explained that at rallies people constantly shout, throwing micro drops of saliva into the open with greater force, which can cross any barrier.

“At rallies people are closer and shouting, and thus the micro drops of saliva come out with more force and can pass through the mask, because these, although they protect, are not 100% effective. In the case of the marches, people go separated, at a certain distance, with megaphones. Also when walking there is air circulation. There the risk is medium to low ”, detailed the health doctor.

The problem that exists now, Gozzer added, is that the Delta variant of the COVID-19, which is much more contagious than the previous ones, and twice as much as the original virus.

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