United States Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams fears a shortage of masks if citizens continue to purchase them without the need to.
As the coronavirus outbreak spreads across the pond, the whole world is embroiled in the frenzy to prevent and cure it. In an attempt to prevent catching the disease, many have resorted to wearing face masks that cover the nose and mouth. The demand for these face masks has recently skyrocketed, so much so, in fact, that Hong Kong saw a shortage in their supply, driving prices up to unprecedented heights. As the first hundred cases of coronavirus are diagnosed in the United States, the country's Surgeon General, Jerome M. Adams, has come forward to persuade citizens to stop wearing masks, The Washington Times reports.
The surgeon issued the statement in a post uploaded to Twitter late last week. He urged, "Seriously people, STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing [the] 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!" Adams is not wrong. Regular surgeon face masks don't do much to fight against the virus, especially if you haven't been diagnosed with coronavirus yourself. In addition to being massively uncomfortable and forcing your lungs to work much harder than they need to, face masks don't prevent you from catching the virus.
"The best way to protect yourself and your community is with everyday preventive actions, like staying home when you are sick and washing hands with soap and water, to help slow the spread of respiratory illness," the Surgeon General continued in a follow-up tweet. "Get your flu shot [because if there are] fewer flu patients [then there are] more resources for COVID-19." COVID-19 is the scientific name for the deadly illness. Adams is not alone in his assertion. According to Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, if you're unsure if you have the illness, it's best not to go out into public. He said, "That's the time to stay home."
However, not everyone seems to agree with Surgeon General Adams' advice. Judging by some of the replies to his tweet, he welcomed quite the backlash on his Twitter feed. Chainstone Labs CEO Bruce Fenton responded, "You do you, we’ll do us, buddy." Others pointed to his White House affiliations in order to discredit him. Adams was appointed by none other than United States President Donald Trump, who called the coronavirus epidemic a "hoax" in recent times. Thus, Twitter user Jonas_salt wrote, "So I should listen to a man appointed by an administration who claims the coronavirus outbreak is a liberal hoax designed to kill millions so Trump won't win reelection. I think I'll pass."
Whether or not you choose to believe Adams, face masks are not the only preventative measure to take at this point in time. If you want to effectively curb your chances of contracting the disease, first and foremost, postpone any and all travel plans if possible. Additionally, as per recommendations from the Center for Disease Control, you should also thoroughly wash your hands, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, avoid close contact with people who are sick, and finally, disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. The only time you really need a face masks is if you've caught the coronavirus infection, in which case, you probably shouldn't be in public spaces anyway.