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Emergency Medicine

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Health researchers are among the voices calling for police to stop using tear gas and pepper spray on protesters, because these chemical irritants can damage the body in ways that can spread the coronavirus and increase the severity of COVID-19. One example: Tear gas and pepper spray can sow confusion and panic in a crowd, causing people to rip off their masks and touch their faces, leading to more contamination.

Some California hospitals near the Mexican border have received so many COVID-19 patients the past few weeks that they have had to divert some to other facilities. Hospital officials say most of the infected patients are U.S. citizens or legal residents who live in, or recently traveled to, Mexico and came to the U.S. for care.