As protests spread, so could cases of COVID-19 and West Nile Virus

After several demonstrations over the weekend, Fresno County officials say they'll be keeping a close eye on the numbers of the coronavirus.
FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The death of George Floyd has sparked massive protests across the state and nation, bringing together thousands to march against injustice.

Some of those demonstrations have drawn crowds in Fresno.

RELATED: Thousands march through downtown Fresno for George Floyd protest

However, public health officials worry they'll see more cases of COVID-19 as more people come together.

"We know gatherings tend to promote the transmission of this virus. If we see a rise, that won't be a huge surprise," says Dr. Rais Vohra with the Fresno County Public Department of Health.

Vohra addressed the nationwide demonstrations on Wednesday.

He says luckily, many of the demonstrations are taking place outside, which may help lower the risk.

"We're hoping people are taking all the precautions they can, because incubation period takes 14 days. It's too early to tell if it will create an uptick," he says.

But with more protesters heading outdoors, Vohra is warning about another virus that poses a risk this time of year: West Nile Virus.

"Ironically it overlaps with COVID where people can actually develop muscle aches fevers, headaches, lack of energy - a lot of the same viral effects."

Vohra says, similar to COVID-19, people who contract West Nile Virus may have mild symptoms.

He says if the symptoms don't go away, go to a doctor.

"If you're not getting better on your own after a couple of days taking it easy, then get check out," he says.

Vohra says there are currently more than 1,900 coronavirus cases and they hope to release a map with zip codes regarding COVID-19 trends in the county.

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