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Harvard Doctor Warns Of Coronavirus Risk When Protesting

BOSTON (CBS) – Hundreds of protesters are expected to turn out to Roxbury's Nubian Square Sunday evening calling for justice for George Floyd. The Black Lives Matter protest is being organized by several organizations.

The protest will begin at 6:30 p.m. and stretch to the Massachusetts Statehouse. This comes after a protest in Boston's South End that drew hundreds and led to the arrest of ten people.

Even with a face covering, one Boston doctor is warning protesters about the risk for coronavirus spread – especially in large crowds of hundreds or more.

"There's a high risk of spread any time you have large numbers of people who aren't social distancing," said Dr. Abraar Karan, of Harvard Medical School. "There are a lot of people and people are yelling and screaming and there's very close contact. There's physical altercations. The risk certainly is there."

Businesses, including the department store Macy's in Boston's Downtown Crossing, are already preparing. Crews could be seen boarding up doors and windows in anticipation of rowdy crowds marching shoulder-to-shoulder.

Dr. Karan said that while he understands the desire to protest, doing so safely is best.

"While they, of course, have every right and should express how they're feeling about all the injustices, doing so safely is really important because I don't want any of these people to inadvertently infect their family members," he said.

The protest being outside, coupled with the use of a face mask, will reduce coronavirus spread drastically – but not 100%, which is why PPE will be crucial.

"Really wear a mask and really try to social distance. Obviously saying that and seeing the way protests are is a little unrealistic, but wearing a mask is very important," Dr. Karan said.

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