LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Health experts say protests could lead to a spike in coronavirus cases. Thousands have been gathering in crowds across the Commonwealth, particularly in Louisville. This is all coming at a time when Kentucky was just starting to slowly reopen. 

UofL Health infectious disease specialist Dr. Forest Arnold said they were already anticipating a spike in cases as things started to reopen. Protests with people in close quarters will certainly not help.

"We are over two months into this pandemic and we are getting new patients every day. I really feel for the people who have made it two months into the pandemic and are getting coronavirus, but we see those people. We have them upstairs in the hospital. It's still a very real thing," Arnold said.

He said, protests being in the open air does help because COVID-19 does not spread as much outside, but that does not mean health guidelines should be ignored. He still suggests wearing a mask, washing your hands, avoid touching your face and keep as much distance as you can. 

Many, but not all, protesters have been wearing masks. With that many people in one area, though, it is near impossible to maintain social distance.

"I see people hugging. I see many people in masks. I see many people without masks, I get a little nervous when I see crowds so close," Arnold said.

He said it unclear how much of a spike we could see. What we do know is that it takes a while for symptoms to appear, so we may not know the impact for a few weeks.

"I'm just wondering what my day is going to look like in two to three week," Arnold said. "I'll be at the hospital taking care of people until late hours."

He said, in an ideal world, everyone would get tested for coronavirus every three days or so, but that is just not possible. Arnold said everyone should pay attention to symptoms and stay home if they show any.

Governor Andy Beshear asks that people who have been at these large protests to avoid seniors and people with underlying health conditions.