JOCO health experts say wearing of gloves by public not helpful against COVID-19

A woman wearing medical gloves grasps the handlebar of a shopping cart
Photo credit Kerkez / Getty

Kansas City, MO - For the general public, the wearing of face coverings or masks during the coronavirus pandemic is good practice.  Wearing disposable medical gloves?  There's really no need, according to local and national health experts. 

According to the CDC, wearing gloves IS recommended when someone is cleaning/disinfecting or caring for someone who is sick.

What might 'feel' counterintuitive for some, the wearing of gloves by the public is a recipe for actually spreading COVID-19, says Dr. Ryan Jacobsen, medical director for the Johnson County, KS emergency management service. 

Jacobsen says the science shows gloves act just like a hand and may spread the virus more than your bare hands.

There are exceptions to the glove guidance for certain people and settings, but "the general public doesn’t need to wear gloves when we’re talking about COVID-19." The virus "readily dies with alcohol gels, hand sanitizers or soap and water", said Jacobsen. 

While discouraging the use of medical gloves, Jacobsen says face masks and coverings are effective because "the overwhelming way this virus is spread is through respiratory secretions, coughing, sneezing, or touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth.” 

“What we’re seeing is people using gloves for a long, extended period of time, and essentially, they never wash their hands then", says Jacobsen.

Best practices for wearing medical gloves: They should be worn once, for short period of time, and then tossed in the bin.