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Tornado threat and Easter services raise COVID-19 concerns


The threat of strong tornadoes on Easter is posing a double-edged safety dilemma for Deep South during the coronavirus pandemic. Forecasters say an outbreak of severe thunderstorms with powerful twisters is likely Sunday from Louisiana through the Tennessee Valley. More than 4.5 million people live in the area where dangerous weather is most likely, including Alabama and Mississippi. Some communities have waffled on whether to open storm shelters because of the virus threat. Last Thursday, Alabama Public Radio also raised the issue of concerns over Easter services that could cause a spike in COVID-19 cases. Dr. Thomas Weida is with University Medical Center in Tuscaloosa. He says those concerns are reasonable considering a recent incident in Albany, Georgia.

“They had a funeral and a celebration," says Dr. Weida. "(They) did not know anybody was symptomatic and may not have known, and maybe no one was symptomatic at that time. But, they had one of the largest outbreaks of COVID with a significant number of folks dying.”

Dr. Weida says anyone who was infected on Easter Sunday could start showing symptoms of the virus in three to five days. He repeats the suggestion everyone use social distancing, wash their hands, and cough into their elbows.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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