Doctors Waiting to See Impact of Gatherings on COVID-19 Infections

June 1, 2020

    Amidst a weekend of national unrest, doctors are hoping that people do not forget about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

    “It’s still a thing,” said Dr. Joseph Chow, Medical Director of Western New York Immediate Care. “Coronavirus is still around.”

    Just a week after both elected and healthcare officials urged the public to limit Memorial Day weekend gatherings to under 10 people, about 1,000 people gathered for a protest in Niagara Square. Even larger gatherings occurred around the country.

    What happens next may tell us a lot about the virus.

    “We certainly need a few weeks to understand if all these gatherings are going to cause a spike,” Chow said. “From a medical standpoint, when you see (large gatherings), a lot of work was put in over the past several months to get everybody in to that mode of social isolation, masks. You don’t want this happening so quickly.”

    The sights of large gatherings, combined with curbing hospitalization and death rates in hot spots like New York, can easily move coronavirus out of the forefront of discussion.

    But Dr. Chow said it’s important to remember the steps taken that have got the community to this point.

    As for people who were in mass gatherings over the weekend, some officials in other cities have suggested that anyone who has attended a protest get a coronavirus test this week.

    “Timing is really one issue,” Chow said because of the incubation period. “If you were in a large gathering say last night and you went to get tested, it’s almost surely to be negative.”

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