People who use face masks to protect themselves from catching the coronavirus may be doing more harm than good if they use their masks inappropriately, according to the surgeon general. As CNN reports, sales of face masks have surged, but those wearing the masks preventatively may actually be increasing their risk of contracting COVID-19.
“You can increase your risk of getting it by wearing a mask if you are not a health care provider,” Dr. Jerome Adams warned. “Folks who don’t know how to wear them properly tend to touch their faces a lot and actually can increase the spread of coronavirus.”
Adams confirmed that there has been an increase in the number of cases in the United States, including several new cases that have spread organically rather than being brought into the country by people who have visited areas with a high incidence of the virus.
“It’s important for folks to know that right now their risk as American citizens remains low. There are things people can do to stay safe. There are things they shouldn’t be doing and one of the things they shouldn’t be doing in the general public is going out and buying masks,” he said.
To emphasize his message, Adams posted on Twitter to warn people to stop buying masks because a shortage could harm people who need them while failing to provide help to those who don’t.
Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!
They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!
— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020
Adams also cautioned that people should stay away from those who are sick and everyone should be washing their hands frequently. Additionally, individuals should avoid touching their faces – including eyes, nose, and mouth, to avoid spreading the disease.
Meeting with @SenBlumenthal, @GovNedLamont & @CTDPH state health commissioner this morning to talk about federal and state pareparedness and response efforts around #COVID19. pic.twitter.com/4QcuDBkOqq
— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) March 2, 2020
The Surgeon General’s warning comes as over two dozen cases of the novel variation of the virus popped up across the United States and the first two citizens died of the disease.
As of Friday, there were 65 known cases in the U.S., but by Sunday there was 89, with new cases in Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, New York, and Florida. Schools in some areas of Oregon, Washington, and Rhode Island closed to deal with the virus’ spread and several other states have declared a state of emergency.
At the same time, as The Inquisitr previously reported, one expert warns that it’s likely the virus has been spreading in the western United States unchecked for weeks. He argues that because of an inadequate response by the government, the virus has probably gone untested and unchecked for longer than most people realize.