Dr. Fauci fears protests are a 'perfect set-up' for a coronavirus 'surge'

1010 WINS Newsroom
June 05, 2020 - 4:25 pm

FILE - In this April 22, 2020, file photo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks about the new coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, in Washington. A Senate hearing on reopening workplaces and schools safely is turning into a teaching moment on the fickle nature of the coronavirus outbreak. Senior health officials, including Fauci, scheduled to testify in person before the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee on Tuesday, May 12 will instead appear via video link. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The protests flooding the streets of American cities are a "perfect set-up" for a coronavirus "surge," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday

As several jurisdictions re-open in various stages -- New York City is slated to enter Phase 1 on Monday -- Fauci said he's concerned it's a perfect storm for an uptick in coronavirus cases.

"Every time I hear about or see the congregation of large crowds at a time and geographic area where there is active infection transmission, it is a perfect set-up for the spread of the virus in the sense of creating these blips that might turn into some surges," Fauci said in an interview with Washington, D.C. radio station WTOP. "So I get very concerned." 

Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said the shouting, chanting, close proximity of protesters increases the risk of a spike in the potentially-deadly virus. He also said that crowd-controlling irritants such as tear gas or pepper spray, which make people cough, sneeze and rub their eye, are also problematic.

"There certainly is a risk, I would say that with confidence, when you see the congregation of crowds, particularly in a situation where you have a lot of confusion and a little bit of chaos, people running back and forth, taking their masks off, being close in proximity, that does pose a risk," he said.