A riot amid a pandemic: Did the virus, too, storm the Capitol?
Tue, 01/12/2021 – 02:30
The January 6 pro-Trump rally brought participants to Washington, DC, from all over and also brought with it, scientists fear, all of the makings of a coronavirus super-spreader event. Unlike the Black Lives Matters demonstrations this summer, which also raised red flags at the time, Wednesday’s chanting crowds were largely unmasked. The focus of the event also shifted at one point from outside to the corridors and private offices within the U.S. Capitol. Public health officials worry that infection by even a handful of the hundreds of insurgents who forced their way into the compound likely led to mass transmission of the virus to others. Shouting and yelling, they note, expels tiny infectious particles into the air, where they can linger and jump to new hosts. Not only did the rioters create a threat for themselves, observers say, but they put Capitol Police officers and members of Congress at risk as they sheltered in place from the uprising in close quarters.