Please pardon another post about the Maryland Republican congressman Andy Harris, but, in a radio interview posted to his Facebook page, he just went off on restaurants being linked to the spread of coronavirus. He says they are not “significant contributors” to community spread. He’s basically quoting what you can hear on FOX “News” any day, and it’s pretty pathetic coming from someone with a medical degree. (Harris can call himself a doctor, but I prefer “someone with a medical degree.” Last spring, when he joined protests against Gov. Larry Hogan’s COVID-related restrictions, I thought his license should have been yanked.) If you want more information about the science behind the concern about restaurants and bars — where people need to take their masks off to eat and drink — there are plenty of facts available. In fact, just a few days ago, PolitiFact ran down Laura Ingraham’s dismissal of restaurants as a factor in community spread and found that she was wrong. So is Harris. Here’s the short version:
- The coronavirus can spread during restaurant dining as patrons take off their masks to eat or drink. Indoor restaurants without spaced-out seating are considered risky.
- A September CDC report found a link between testing positive for the coronavirus and going to locations with on-site eating and drinking options, such as restaurants.
- A November modeling study published in Nature suggested full-service restaurants are among the types of public places most responsible for the spread of the coronavirus.
- In fact, plenty of evidence suggests restaurant dining has helped spread the coronavirus. Places that allow indoor dining and don’t follow safety protocols are considered especially unsafe.
Here’s the CDC report from September.