LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A big question as resorts across the Valley reopen: could we see a spike in coronavirus cases?
By now, we have seen videos and photos of crowded casino floors on the Las Vegas Strip, leading many to wonder if a resurgence is on the horizon.
“We don’t want people to touch things, but you can’t play single deck blackjack without holding the cards,” said Brian Labus, an infectious disease expert and assistant professor of public health at UNLV.
As casinos come back, the question continues to linger.
Resorts are rolling the dice on a new gaming experience for guests, with several safety measures in place. Still, many visitors do not seem to be social distancing or wearing masks.
What effect will these issues have on the local case count?
“It’s not something we’d be able to see until two to three weeks after those things occur. It takes time for people to get sick, seek care, and get tested before we see them reflected in our numbers,” Labus said. “Some of those cases will carry over into our population. Many of those people, if they’re infected, will take that back home, and that’s where they’ll start to be counted.”
In addition to casinos on the Las Vegas Strip reopening, there are some concerns about the virus spreading here because of the recent protests.
“You’re bringing a lot of people together in close contact, and that’s when disease transmission can occur,” Labus said.
Although it is too early to tell what will happen, Labus says COVID-19 hospitalizations is really the only indicator if things are getting worse. That is because more cases also reflect more tests being done and a higher testing capacity.
“We expect to see some small increase in cases every time we have an opening,” Labus said.
Experts say it is important to wear a cloth face covering when going out in public. This is meant mostly to protect other people in case you are infected. Face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing, so it is important to continue to keep about six feet between yourself and others.