SEATTLE — Dr. Ali Mokdad, is professor of health metrics sciences at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and chief strategy officer for population health at UW. He's working on the team that has created one of the go-to models for predicting the spread of COVID-19. We asked him to weigh in on the large gatherings of people at Protests around the country and the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Mokdad says the basics apply, wear a mask and stay away from each other as much as possible, "If we increase mobility and we increase crowds, we will increase the circulation of the virus. No doubt. Scientifically." At the same, he says racism is a public health issue, "We should speak up, and we should not accept it ... Today we have over 107,000 deaths from COVID-19, but in my opinion, racism is more dangerous to my country than COVID-19."
His advice for the best thing we can do for ourselves when attending protests is to stay away from each other as much as we can, "When you take your mask off and you shout, please be careful and stay away from each other if you can." He understands the duality and says protesting police brutality is the right thing to do - peacefully, "That's our right as a citizen, especially when there is injustice. It's not enough at this time to be anti-racism, but you've got to also fight it."