WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Doctors Weigh Impact of Inaugural Crowds On Flu Outbreak

Play associated audio
Health officials downplay the danger of transmission in Inauguration Day crowds, but recommend diligent hand-washing.
Health officials downplay the danger of transmission in Inauguration Day crowds, but recommend diligent hand-washing.

As next week's presidential inauguration draws closer, local health professionals are assessing the potential impact of the large crowds of people from around the country descending on Washington in the midst of flu season.

D.C. health officials say the flu problem in the region has not yet reached epidemic proportions, but with hundreds of thousands of visitors expected in town for the inaugural, could the sheer volume of people carrying the infection change the game?

"I don't anticipate it impacting the flu situation too much," says Dr. Bruno Petnore, a physician with the George Washington University Medical Hospital.

Dr. Petnore says although the number of people in the area carrying the virus will rise,  a significant increase in the transmission of the disease is questionable and dependant on human contact, not proximity.

"The flu does not jump 20-feet; there usually has to be some form of contact," Petnore says. "Yes if somebody is standing half a foot away from you and sneezes right in your face, that could represent the transmission of the virus if that person has the flu."   

That said, Dr.Petnore says if you plan to attend the inauguration, keep in mind that one of the most important rules to avoid catching the flu still applies.

"Regular hand washing is going to be important, regardless of how many people are here with the virus," Petnore says. "Also, folks who are coming should consider bringing hand disinfectant, which is a good practice anytime."

For the sake of all in attendance, anybody with flu symptoms is urged to stay home

if you have flu like symptoms we would want to ask you to consider not coming. If you haven't caught the flu, most health officials urge you to get vaccinated if you plan to attend the inaugural.


'Never Crossing The Botox Rubicon': Amanda Peet Explores Aging In Hollywood

NPR's Kelly McEvers speaks with actress Amanda Peet about her Lenny Letter essay, "Never Crossing The Botox Rubicon," and how to navigate aging in the image-obsessed entertainment industry.

When It Came To Food, Neanderthals Weren't Exactly Picky Eaters

During the Ice Age, it seems Neanderthals tended to chow down on whatever was most readily available. Early humans, on the other hand, maintained a consistent diet regardless of environmental changes.

#MemeOfTheWeek: The Woman('s) Card

Donald Trump said Hillary Clinton was playing it this week. And then it seemed the entire Internet joined in the game.

Apple's Lousy Week Could Signal Times Of Trouble For Tech Giant

Apple got hit with a lot of bad news this week. First, the company posted its first quarterly revenue drop since 2003. And then billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn revealed that he has dumped all of his shares in Apple. NPR explores whether the company is really in trouble or if is this all just a bump in the road.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.