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Ask Dr. Nandi: Is in-person voting safe from COVID-19? It can be if you follow these guidelines

Posted at 9:10 PM, Sep 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 21:10:26-04
(WXYZ) —

Over 5 million Michiganders are expected to vote in the upcoming November third election. And while state election officials are predicting that a record number of ballots will be cast before election day, there are still plenty of people who prefer to vote in-person.

But with the on-going pandemic, many are wondering, ‘Is in-person voting safe from COVID-19’?

There are many folks, including some of my patients, who are wondering just how safe in-person voting is. And the answer is that it can be safe. But, and this is very important, you have to be very careful and you should follow guidelines.

Even then, there is no guarantee that it will be 100% safe.

Michigan’s Secretary of State has talked about some of this. Like how election workers will be wearing masks, gloves, and face shields. And how voters can expect public areas to be sanitized and social distancing protocols to be in place. And all of that is very helpful.

But you’ll want to know more details than that. For instance:

  • will voters be waiting in lines outside?
  • how many people will be allowed inside at a time?
  • will there be plexiglass between voters and poll workers?
  • and also, is there an entrance door and a different exit door, allowing for one-way traffic?

Now, it’s also important to know the location of your precinct. If you can, it’s best to avoid high-risk facilities like senior care places. The safer locations, in general, are places like community recreation centers, convention centers, school gymnasiums, and large parking lots.

You really don’t want to be stuck in a long line inside an enclosed narrow hallway. The virus especially loves indoor spaces with poor ventilation. So here’s my advice:

  • Try to avoid busy voting times like lunchtime and before or after work hours. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon tend to be less busy.
  • Next, be sure to wear a face mask. The best masks are made of cotton and they have two or three layers of fabric.
  • Also, please keep your mask over your nose. The virus is more likely to enter through your nose because that’s how the majority of us breathe.
  • And lastly, I suggest bringing your own pen, some hand sanitizer, or disinfecting wipes. That way once you’ve used the voting booth, you can clean your hands immediately.

This week on the Dr. Nandi Show, how today’s sports are hurting our children. Shockingly the number of young athletes suffering from head traumas across all sports has increased by 200% over the last decade! And while great efforts are being made to make sports safer, Dr. Nandi wonders “would I let my sons risk brain injuries for the sake of a game?” In this episode, Dr. Nandi speaks with former wrestling pro Chris Nowinski. Chris shares how he suffered multiple concussions and thought he could just “shake them off’. Also, the wife of NE Patriots player Dennis Wirgorwski speaks out about depression and her husband’s suicide. And Brain Disorder Expert Dr. Daniel Amen discusses a major study on NFL players. Tune in this Sunday, September 20th at 1 pm.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.