Amid the growing coronavirus concerns, prices of medical face masks have gone up with Americans fearing that they may catch the deadly illness. But the United States’ top doctor is now saying that the masks may not be effective.
US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams took to Twitter on Saturday to share his thoughts on the coronavirus and the influx of mask purchases. “Seriously people,” he begins, “STOP BUYING MASKS!”
The tweet goes on to say, “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!”
In the thread, Adams suggests other means of protecting yourself against the disease. “The best way to protect yourself and your community is with everyday preventive actions, like staying home when you are sick and washing your hands with soap and water, to help slow the spread of respiratory illness,” he writes.
The tweet comes at a time when face mask prices are surging on Amazon, due to the high demand of the product. Many have resorted to the masks for protection despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying that they are unnecessary.
Preventive medicine professor Dr. William Shaffner told CNN that use of the masks is largely a “psychological thing,” convincing people that they are protecting themselves when really they’re not doing much.
“The coronavirus is coming, and we feel rather helpless,” Shaffner said. “By getting masks and wearing them, we move the locus of control somewhat to ourselves.”