Medical experts in the US fear the use of tear gas and pepper spray by the country’s police at Black Lives Matter protests will increase the risk for COVID-19.
The concern was raised in an open letter which explained why the demonstrations are necessary despite those attending having been advised to stay at home to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. The letter was signed by 1,288 professionals in the field.
One bullet point reads: “Oppose any use of tear gas, smoke, or other respiratory irritants, which could increase risk for COVID-19 by making the respiratory tract more susceptible to infection, exacerbating existing inflammation, and inducing coughing.”
In the past two days the cities of Seattle and Denver have banned the use of tear gas at protests.