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Dr. Sergienko Provides Context To The Flatulence Debate

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Sonora, CA — Tuolumne County’s Interim Public Health Officer is responding to a statement made by the Mayor of Sonora this week regarding the ability to spread COVID via flatulence.

We reported that Mayor Matt Hawkins voted in opposition to giving City Administrator Mary Rose Rutikanga the ability to put in place increased COVID protocols. One change she will implement is mandatory masking at city-owned buildings (per public health department recommendations).

Mayor Hawkins argued that most people who contract COVID-19 also get an upset stomach. Adding, “What happens when you get sick to your stomach? You pass a lot of gas. The masks don’t stop the gas, and that is one way you can be contagious. That is science, and it is a fact.”

Some community members have contacted Clarke Broadcasting raising questions about the statement.

Responding to the Mayor’s comments, Dr. Eric Sergienko says there are legitimate concerns about the ability of fecal matter creating aerosols when flushing a toilet. It is one of the reasons why masking is recommended in places like public restrooms.

However, he says, “As far as farting, or flatulence, it is probably a whole lot less likely (way of passing Covid). Because when we talk about respiratory spread, and droplet spread, it is really your lungs serving as the viral culture media in growing the virus in the lung cells, and then you are coughing them up, and coughing them out.”

Continuing, “And then let’s just put it out there. The difference between my mouth and the other part of my body is that I have at least two layers of cloth covering it.”

Dr. Sergienko is more concerned about the higher likelihood of people spreading COVID via their mouth, as opposed to their rear-ends, which is why the department is recommending people continue to wear facial coverings in public settings.