U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams is urging Americans to stop buying disposable surgical masks because they are not effective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
And because of the growing demand for the masks, prices are rising and there is concern about a possible shortage of the masks for healthcare workers which would put them at risk.
“Not having a mask does not necessarily put you at the risk of contracting the disease,” Adams wrote on Twitter. He explained that preventive measures like staying home when you are sick and washing your hands with soap and water can prevent the spread of disease.
The demand for masks has caused a surge in prices at Amazon and eBay. He wrote in his twitter post “Seriously people—STOP BUYING MASKS!”
As of February 28, more than 83,000 cases of coronavirus have been in confirmed in over 50 countries, of which 8,000 were classified as serious. The Louvre, one of the world’s premiere art museums, closed Sunday and Monday after employees expressed concern about the coronavirus. One hundred and thirty people have been affected by coronavirus and two have died.
At least 2,800 deaths have been attributed to the disease, surpassing that of the 2003 SARS outbreak. More than 36,000 people have since recovered, according to the World Health Organization.
Status of Coronavirus in Alabama
Since mid-January, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn, prepare and provide the most up-to-date information about the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Travelers, including college students, business travelers, tourists and airline employees, are returning to Alabama from countries where the disease is widespread. ADPH has monitored more than 100 people returning from China and there are no positive cases of COVID-19.
As a clearer picture is emerging, ADPH advises the general public that the best way to avoid infection is to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, cover coughs and sneezes, stay home when you are ill, and practice social distancing strategies such as staying 6 feet apart from other individuals. Flu shots are recommended for those who have not had one this season to allow for earlier identification and limit confusion as to whether COVID-19 or the flu. This will also hopefully free up resources for use if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs.
In addition, ADPH is asking that all universities and colleges implement their plans to mitigate and control the spread of disease on their campuses. The CDC has recommended that institutions of higher education consider postponing or cancelling upcoming student foreign exchange programs and is asking current program participants to return to their home country.