TheHill Suggests DC Protest Was 'Superspreader Event' Police officers in riot gear move protesters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
By Brian Trusdell | Thursday, 07 January 2021 03:50 PM
TheHill.com suggested Wednesday’s protest in Washington, D.C., that breached the U.S. Capitol could be a ''superspreader event'' for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 because most of the participants were not wearing masks.
Quoting Tara Smith, a professor of epidemiology at Kent State University, from an email she sent to the website’s ''Changing America'' subsite, TheHill claimed the number of people without masks in relative close proximity was tantamount to de facto spread.
''It certainly could be,'' Smith said. ''From what I saw in pictures and video, you had a large congregation of individuals who were in close contact for an extended period of time and almost universally unmasked. I saw many photos of individuals coming and going on buses as well, also unmasked, and hanging out in hotel lobbies.''
TheHill said Wednesday’s protest was not equitable to the Black Lives Matter protests because demonstrators at those protests wore masks.
''Many rioters were yelling, not wearing masks, and there was little to no social distancing — all actions that allow COVID to easily spread. It is possible that this could be a superspreader event,'' TheHill quoted epidemiologist Beth Linas, without citing an affiliation. ''More concerning is that many rioters were not from DC and are likely headed home and could bring COVID with them."