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Source: COVID-19 & KHN  Jun 07, 2020  3 years, 10 months, 1 week, 1 day, 18 hours, 42 minutes ago

COVID-19: Use Of Tear Gas By Authorities In US During COVID-19 Pandemic Is Totally Irresponsible As The Chemicals Can Increase Risk To Respiratory Illnesses

COVID-19: Use Of Tear Gas By Authorities In US During COVID-19 Pandemic Is Totally Irresponsible As The Chemicals Can Increase Risk To Respiratory Illnesses
Source: COVID-19 & KHN  Jun 07, 2020  3 years, 10 months, 1 week, 1 day, 18 hours, 42 minutes ago
COVID-19: It is shocking to see scenes of US authorities using tear gas and pepper sprays to disperse protesters in various states while the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is still infecting tens of thousands of individuals each day. Studies have shown that the usage of these chemicals can increase the risk to respiratory illnesses.

Unknown to many despite these crowd-control weapons being rarely lethal, these chemical irritants can damage the body in ways that can spread the coronavirus and increase the severity of COVID-19.
It is known that the chemicals can have both immediate and long-term health effects.
The usage of these chemical weapons by the Trump administration in recent weeks while the  infectious COVID-19 disease for which there is no vaccine,  continues to spread across the U.S., has stunned medical experts and physicians.
The SARS Cov-2 coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19 is highly contagious, spreads easily through the air via droplets, and can lead to severe or fatal respiratory illness. Deploying these corrosive, inhalable chemicals could harm people in several ways: exposing more people to the virus, compromising the body’s ability to fight off the infection and even causing mild infections to become more severe illnesses.
Associate Professor Dr Sven Eric Jordt, a researcher at the Duke University School of Medicine who studies the effects of tear gas said, “This is a recipe for disaster.”
Dr Jordt refers to these chemicals as “pain gases” because they activate certain pain-sensing nerves on the skin and in the mucous membranes of the eyes, mouth and nose.
He explained, “You have this excruciating pain, sneezing, coughing, the production of a lot of mucus that obstructs breathing.”
Individuals who have been exposed describe a burning and stinging sensation, even a sense of asphyxiation and drowning. Sometimes the chemicals cause vomiting or allergic reactions. In law enforcement, officers generally use two types of chemicals for crowd control: CS gas and pepper spray.
The main active ingredient in pepper spray, called capsaicin, is derived from chiles. It is often sprayed from cans at close quarters or lobbed into crowds in the form of “pepper balls.”
Dr added, “CS gas (o‐chlorobenzylidene malononitrile) is a chlorinated, organic chemical that can induce ‘very strong inflammation’ and ‘chemical injury’ by burning the skin and airways when inhaled. 3">
He added,“Using it in the current situation with COVID-19 around is completely irresponsible. There are sufficient data proving that tear gas can increase the susceptibility to pathogens, to viruses.”
Dr Jordt said research on the harms of tear gas has not kept up with its escalating use in the U.S and around the world in recent years. Many of the safety studies that law enforcement officials rely on date to the 1950s and '60s, he said.
However a 2014 study from the U.S. Army offers an alarming glimpse into how the chemical could escalate the pandemic. The study found that recruits who were exposed to tear gas as part of a training exercise were more likely to get sick with respiratory illnesses like the common cold and the flu.
Dr Jordt added, “We have a lot of antiviral defenses that can inactivate viruses and prevent them from entering cells. These are depleted by inhalation of tear gas and also compromised.”
The research findings of the Army study led the U.S. military to significantly reduce how much recruits were being exposed to the chemical.
Dr Jordt added,  “Even the US Army realized they had done something wrong and that this was more toxic than they thought before.”
Dr John Balmes, a pulmonologist at the University of California-San Francisco and an expert with the American Thoracic Society commented, “Although there is a limited amount of research on the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, there are studies from China and Italy about how other irritants, such as smoking and air pollution, affect COVID-19. These studies indicate that tear gas could also make people more likely to develop severe illness.”
Dr Balmes said, “I actually think the Trump administration could be promoting COVID-19 by tear-gassing protesters. It causes injury and inflammation to the lining of the airways.”
Dr Balmes said this period of inflammation sets back the body’s defenses, and makes it more likely that someone who already harbors the virus will become sick.
He added, “It is like adding fuel to the fire. These exposures to tear gas would increase the risk of progression from the asymptomatic infection, to a symptomatic disease.”
There is growing evidence shows many people who have the coronavirus are asymptomatic and don’t know they are infected, or are “presymptomatic” — infected with the virus and able to infect others, but not yet showing symptoms.