Kids over 9 years old can also transmit virus, Fauci says in separate interview
People are recommended to wear eye protection in addition to masks to better prevent contracting COVID-19, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and one of the nation’s top infectious disease experts this week.
“If you have goggles or an eye shield, you should use it,” Fauci said in an Instagram Live interview with ABC News on Wednesday, July 29.
“It’s not universally recommended, but if you really want to be complete, you should probably use it if you can,” added Fauci. “It’s just that easy for people to just make a cloth mask.”
When asked whether eye protection could be recommended for the general public in the future, Fauci said: “It might, if you really want perfect protection of the mucosal surfaces.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended face shields and goggles for healthcare workers due to the fact that they are more likely to encounter asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic patients with COVID-19 by working in areas with “moderate to substantial community transmission.”
While only face masks that cover the nose and mouth are currently recommended for the general public, health experts have long said that it was possible to contract the virus through vulnerable mucous membranes on the face — hence, the early recommendations to regularly wash hands and avoid touching eyes, mouth, and nose.
The CDC has said that while the nose and mouth are the main pathways of contracting the coronavirus, “it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.”
“You have mucosa in the nose, mucosa in the mouth, but you also have mucosa in the eye,” said Fauci. “Theoretically, you should protect all the mucosal surfaces.”
White House coronavirus response coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, also recommended people wear eye protection in addition to masks while speaking on “Fox & Friends” early Thursday, July 30.
“The mask protects others, to block those droplets and block that contamination that happens when you speak or sing or talk, or even breathe,” said Birx.
“We think that that could protect the individuals and that it would decrease the ability for them to touch their eyes and spread the virus as well as those droplets coming towards them,” she Birx.
Kids over 9 years old can also transmit virus, Fauci says
Also on Wednesday, Fauci said that while it was important that kids are able to return to school when possible, it was important to consider the fact that children over 9 years old can transmit the coronavirus like adults.
“It’s been shown that children from 10 to 19 can transmit the virus to adults as well as adults can,” said Fauci during an interview on MSNBC.
As schools across the U.S. prepare to either open campuses or transition to remote learning, experts — such as from the Infectious Disease Society of America — have expressed concern over the possibility of asymptomatic children bringing the virus into their homes.
A recently published study in South Korea showed that the household transmission of COVID-19 was high for children and teens ages 10 to 19 years old.
“The issue that we’re facing is that we’re in a big country, and it has significant differences where you are as to the level of virus,” added Fauci.